Saturday, April 14, 2012
I'm a changed woman now.
I say with full sincerity that Wednesday was a definitive day in my career. I felt in control, professional; an administrate of death ritual in the most agonizing of circumstances. Baring witness to a community rocked by calamity, I realigned my perspective. Life is good. Death is bad. I'm lucky to have a lightness of being and breath in my lungs. And I want to turn into a giant mother bird with soft feathered wings so that I can wrap up the bereaved to keep them safe from harms. But that's just silly talk. Instead I will do my biznezz with honesty and compassion.
Suicide is devastating. Most certainly alarming is that of an intelligent, self-aware and virtuous teenage girl. Such a young lady died last week and this has been the subject of my deepest reflections. Her life, her death, her challenges. Her parents, emotions hijacked by grief and torment. Her little brother, pensive and forlorn. A sixteen year old has enough on his plate to deal with. Perceptive of this, I felt a desire to protect him most of all. If this is a maternal feeling being fostered, so be it.
I visited the family home on the morning of the funeral with the task of driving them to the church. As I knocked on the door I pulled my spine back from it's slouch and inhaled with all the power and intention that I could. I wasn't sure how the journey was going to fare with me as their driver, looking like a teenager myself with zits on my chin and dark hair not dissimilar to their own daughters. Would they be disturbed by my youth, if they had subconsciously expected a more mature funeral director?
Instead the father insisted that I have a cup of tea with him while his wife tweeted about the cat running rampant between the dozens of floral tributes sent to the house. We talked about snack foods, music videos and Melbourne's traffic problems, during which time I couldn't arrest my wandering eye from the open door to my left. Her bedroom. Her place of reflection and rest. I wished that she could go back there and close her door. And live.
The schoolgirls, her friends; their farewells full of apology, guilt and sorrow. Hundreds of young lives changed with the shock loss of their companion. And for what?
I'm employed to ensure that a 'memorial event' runs as scheduled. It's not my job to make people feel better. It's not my job to ponder about the why or why not's of one's mortal toil. But for some reason, it's the reason why I'm sticking with it. And I can't go back to the mortuary, for now I know that I can improve other people's lives in a time that really, fucking sucks.
Rest in peace, young lady.