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Riding the Funeral Bus

Posted October 10th, 2013 at 03:48 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
Iím sitting on a bus that has been chartered to go to a funeral. Iím sitting in the middle of the bus, itís quite high up- okay itís more at the back of the bus. Iím surrounded by my co-workers, for the deceased was a co-worker of great charisma and importance- no, not a manager, not a supervisor. She wasnít in payroll. She was the receptionist.

I knew she was a special person. She certainly treated me royally. I was a lost sheep when I came to this company, and she took me under her wing and took care of me. She had a special relationship with lots of people and thatís why they chartered the bus.

At the funeral home they used their largest room and then joined it to three other rooms. I estimated about four hundred people for the memorial service, standing room only. She was fifty-seven and had retired three weeks earlier. She was in good health, had a loving husband and son, plus two grandchildren who adored her.

All the people who spoke at the service said the same thing- she was their best friend. Some of them had met her when they were both nine years old. The circumstance was almost always the same. They were in a new situation and felt unsure, and then she appeared and took them under her wing and took care of them, looked out for them and made them part of her life. She had kept all the friends sheíd made as a child and a teenager. She had kept all of the friends sheíd made throughout her entire life. They were all there.

She used to talk to me a bit and I know lots about her life. She came from a family with eight kids. Her Dad died in a car accident when the youngest child was still unborn. They had a poor life, eight kids and a single mom, struggling to make ends meet.

She fell head over heels in love with a fella when she was twenty and they got married. She became pregnant. Her husband died in a car accident on the exact same day that her father had died. She lost their house and moved back in with her mother to give birth to her son.

As soon as she could she went out and got a job. She had no special skills and no special education and she was hired as a receptionist here and stayed for 35 years. She struggled financially but did the best to raise her son as best as she could. They were poor and lived frugally. Vacations were spent in the backyard and clothes were hand-me-downs.

Ten years ago she met a nice fellow and they got married. A period of great happiness followed, and though he was beginning to struggle with health problems, they were very happy. On the last day before Christmas holidays in 2012 she was too sick to come to work. Her husband was sick too, but he showed up here at the office with a present for me, because she wanted to make sure that I got it before the holidays.

She was a little afraid of retiring. She had never not worked. Her son and his wife had busy jobs so she was going to be taking care of the two little boys- getting one on the bus in the morning and taking care of the other all day. She didnít want anybody to make a fuss over her and on her last day she gave me her smiley face paper weight, so I would see a smile every day at work and think of her. And then she died.

The service was like being at a movie. People cried and people laughed and they discharged all of their emotions and then they got back on the bus cleansed. Except me. The smiley face paperweight reminds me of her every day. But donít get me wrong, Iím not depressed or grieving. I think her untimely passing is very sad, but I sort of got a message from her, a feeling really, that she was doing really well and I shouldnít worry about her. And thatís the way she would have wanted it.

I feel lucky to have known a remarkable person who changed the world, one person at a time, through kindness.
Total Comments 3


Arch-vile's Avatar
This is an incredibly touching story. I cannot imagine what she must have felt losing both her husband and father in the same day; both males in her life just gone. She must have been strong.
Posted October 10th, 2013 at 09:04 PM by Arch-vile Arch-vile is online now
Lord Pyre's Avatar
Wow, beautiful story.
Posted October 15th, 2013 at 03:53 PM by Lord Pyre Lord Pyre is online now
chas's Avatar
Thanks for sharing that.
Posted July 26th, 2014 at 03:02 PM by chas chas is online now
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