Today, I went to a visitation-for a child. I have been to many visitations in my lifetime, but never for an 11-year old-a boy born within the same year as my own son. I dreaded going to the funeral home. I was nervous about facing the family, and even more worried that the casket would be open. It was. I spoke briefly with the parents, trying to avoid eye contact with the small, “sleeping”, bald-headed boy nestled so delicately in the adult-sized, shiny, wooden box. I made my way to a second room, where a video rolled with cherished family photos captured in happier times. I could only briefly view the images of the boy sitting on Santa’s knee, or dressed for Halloween in fireman gear. My heart ached as I watched with tears swelling in my eyes, making the pictures blurry at times. I left almost as quickly as I came, hoping that this was the first and last time that I would have to attend such an event for a child.
It seemed fitting and appropriate that at the exact time people were arriving to pay their respects, the dark and gloomy skies opened up and unleashed a torrential downpour. It appeared that even the clouds were allowing their grief to spill over.