The End Of A Thing

Mindy stood up with Charlotte, and Summer who was already standing, as she finally heard the words leave the pastors lips.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. From dust we have come and to dust we shall return.”

She was better now at the cemetery and thankful it was all coming to a close. Everyone was now standing. Devoted relatives drew closer to the grave with white roses in hand that were to be placed on the casket.

If I had anything to do with the arrangements, they would all be holding hibiscuses, Charlotte thought to herself. Her grandmother loved those. She had a garden filled with them. The garden had become Charlotte’s responsibility to groom and maintain since she was 5 years old. The girl would tend to the garden each morning before she got ready for school. Plucking the wilted flowers and sweeping up dead leaves was a part of the chore. She actually loved it. There was pleasure in watching the new, pink flowers open with the sun as she tended to them.

The pastor carried on, “I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; 
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; 
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

The mourners began walking to the casket, dropping their roses in one after the other. The theatrics started up again, making it all reminiscent of the church scene earlier. Cousin Donna was among them, throwing her head back and hollering like someone had murdered her first born. Charlotte had nothing. Then again she had more than nothing. She had peace.

“I know that my Redeemer liveth, 
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; 
and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God; 
whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, 
and not as a stranger.” The Pastor was now shouting his lines above the weeping.

It was Charlotte’s turn. She did not linger, but released the lone flower and continued on. Walking away, she glimpsed her mother and stepfather who were seated at the front. Her mother seemed to be in a trance, eyes red with sorrow. Her stepfather was…well he was her stepfather. With his arms wrapped around her mother’s shoulders, he appeared to be a pillar of strength as he consoled her.

If only he supported her that well behind closed doors, one wouldn’t have to dream of waking up in a different house each morning. Charlotte communicated with her soul.

Her stepfather had a way of making outsiders envy their marriage. Charlotte learned quickly after moving in that the grass isn’t always greener. Everyone just needs to water his or her own lawn.

Now coming to a close, the Pastor continued, “For none of us liveth to himself, 
and no man dieth to himself. 
For if we live, we live unto the Lord, 
and if we die, we die unto the Lord. 
Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

Charlotte stood off to the side of the tent. Someone released a flock of white doves. They took off in flight, each one on it’s own air path it seemed. Charlotte envied their freedom and wished she could ascend into the skies with them.

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; 
even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors. The Lord be with you. And with thy spirit.” The pastor concluded.

There was a resounding Amen from everyone in attendance as the casket made its final descent into the earth. Char was both doleful and thankful for the end of a thing.