What a strange thing this death is, she contemplated. She had thought that her demise might be more of a revelation of light, or an instant transportation into some other world. Instead she just was. She was here, present, watching the mourning of her family members, the stoic calm of her daughter, Stella, as she cared for her five little ones, the shock on her friends’ faces. It was hard to feel anything. She no longer felt like a person, or entity, just a presence filling the quiet viewing room at the funeral home.
Carol Jean had actually been looking forward to death. She had lost her dear Will so many years ago, and was sure there would be an instant reunion with the man who still held her heart. But now there was nothing but space. Time seemed irrelevant. This was not what she was expecting.
Carol Jean looked down at her youngest child, Freddy, who was currently attending his first year of college. He was standing next to her coffin, looking down at her uncertainly. He rested his hand on the edge of the coffin, lightly touching the silky white interior. He then hesitantly moved his hand, as though about to touch her face, but withdrew without making any contact. Abruptly, he left her side and sat in the back of the room, leaving his older siblings to greet the mourning visitors. Where there would normally be a surge of overwhelming sympathy for the pain in this precious child of hers, Carol Jean felt nothing but emptiness. She had a vague sense of missing emotions, but could not quite grasp what was no longer there.
I must be a vacuum, she reasoned. Is this how it all ends?
**Please note: In order to avoid confusion, the Carol Jean in this story is not the same Carol Jean from a previous story (two weeks ago). They are two totally different characters that happen to share a name. If you'd like to read her story, click on the Carol Jean button at the top of the page.