Always Plan for Death and Other Events
Note: This story describes a Catholic wake and funeral. We writers always hear, “Write what you know.” Being a Catholic church singer, I know Catholic funerals very well.
My name is Eunice O’Neill, and I died in a car crash five days ago. Why am I still hanging around, you ask? I don’t know. I went through the whole thing: the tunnel; the light; seeing all my dead relatives, two departed dogs and a hamster; everything. Then they told me I would have to spend some more time down here because this is my Purgatory. Eventually, they’ll let me in up there, but I don’t know how long that will take. In the meantime, we have to make the best of things, so I decided to haunt my wake and my funeral.
One of the nice things about being dead is that you don’t have to walk around anymore because you can float! Floating is fun, especially when you float right through someone because you can see all their insides when you do that. I know that doesn’t sound like fun, but when you’re a ghost, you have to take what you can get.
I floated into my wake early, out of habit. I forgot that there was no need to get a good seat because I don’t get tired anymore. Of course, nobody was there yet, so I took some time to check everything out. Hmmm. Big wreath of flowers from Uncle Joe and Aunt Kate. One, two, three, four ... twelve Mass cards. All those Masses should cut down some of my Purgatory time. Guestbook, holy cards ... right where they should be. Some nice pictures of me from fifteen years ago. So far, everything was in order.
I put off the most important thing until last because I didn’t want to face it: how I looked in my coffin. The coffin was fine. It didn’t scream “cheap,” but it wasn’t extravagant, either. It was somewhere in the middle, just like my family.
I had to know if I looked presentable, so I took a peek at myself. If a ghost could scream, I would have done it. There I was, wearing the one dress that I hated, and a pageboy wig that looked like the Dutch Boy on an old paint can. It wasn’t even the right color. My real hair was light auburn; the wig was dark auburn. My sister Alice must have picked it out. She never had an eye for color, but she was Mom’s favorite. So, of course, who else should be in charge of my hair?
Tammy Faye Bakker must have done my makeup. I looked like a $10 hooker.
You can imagine how I felt later when my sister Alice and her husband passed by my coffin. Alice was crying, and she said, “She looks so peaceful and nice,” meaning me. That idiot brother-in-law of mine answered with, “Yeah, she looks better than she did when she was alive.” If I still had legs, I would have kicked that bastard right where it would hurt the most.
The funeral Mass the next morning was okay. Only the family and a few friends came, but almost everyone I knew had been at the wake the night before, so that was okay. Cousin Lizzie, who insists on singing at every family function, even though she has a voice like a foghorn in a hurricane, butchered the “Ave Maria.” The organist managed to keep up with Lizzie, who doesn’t read music and can’t count, but I could see he was suffering through the whole number. The regular church singer sang everything else, and he has an awesome set of pipes, so it wasn’t a total loss.
A lot of people said they would miss me because I was a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll use my time here on earth haunting them. It’s only right.
Inspired by a prompt posted by author Rachel Christiansen on Facebook’s Writing Prompts Group on June 8, 2018:
Write about a funeral from the dead person’s viewpoint.