Entering, I find a seat in the back and sit, presumably a darkly dressed melancholy girl, not to be disturbed in grief. Presumably invisible in a place like this.
He immediately sets to work, shaking hands, hugging necks, speaking words of condolence and remembrance.
I watch as he greets the family, murmuring and some of them even smile. Some even laugh.
He greets the funeral director, them in matching appropriate suits, dark and somber and dark blue/gray ties.
The service begins. Those who were smiling remember themselves, frown and sit. The tears begin.
He speaks eloquently. Words to help family and friends and acquaintances alike feel connected and loved and comforted. Words of promise and hope and eternal life.
A slow parade of people shuffle, hobble and creep past the casket. He speaks to each one in turn.
Service concluded, people begin to come back to themselves.
My invisibility slowly wears off and I’m greeted, mostly with “Who are you?” and “Are we related?”
What do you say? "I’m the preacher’s wife. I’m here for him, not for you." "Sorry for your loss?" What good does that do? "It’s nice to meet you?" I’m glad your mother/cousin/family member died so we could have this occasion to meet?
No, I say none of that. I tell them I’m Steven’s wife. Everyone knows Steven, and nothing else need be said.