This is a post about death and dying. "There's nothing to see here, folks. Move along, move along."
I didn't plan on looking at the body, but when my sister and mother did, I had to.
It wasn't him. He was done with that shell. The body that had betrayed him. He had left already, with his last breath — that had been hard to witness, had left me kind of numb. Exhausted. So seeing his body now, in the casket, was more abstract. My sister was crying. My mother silent. I was watching myself in that room.
The crematorium was a bizarre mix of French Rennaisance architecture and well-worn industrial utility. Ornate gothic arches, carved doors, steel platforms, and the cremation chamber. The low, faint rumble of the furnace behind the wall.
The attendants closed the casket, rolled it to the conveyor platform, engaged the electric lift up into alignment, and rolled my father's body in its wood-and-silk container through the double-double doors, into the furnace. The casket clunked down before disappearing inside.
We walked outside and watched the black and gray smoke, streaked by tears, drift up into the sun.