The Death of Saema: Chapter 6, Commended to the Earth
Saema’s funeral wasn’t scheduled until 1:00 the next afternoon, but the boyfriend got to the funeral home at around 11:00 AM and requested to get to view her body one more time before the funeral. This wasn’t at all an odd request for the staff to get as many times a friend or loved-one would want to say their goodbyes in relative peace. The young man was led by the attendant who had met him at the front desk back to the small chapel where her service would be held two hours later and then quietly walked off, pulling the doors until they were mostly shut.
He had thought about Saema a lot since her death. Sometimes, he was wracked with guilt, wondering if there was something he could have done to save her. At other times, he just thought about the good times they had. Saema had been very good to him and was a great girlfriend; in some ways, he didn’t feel like he deserved her. Now, though, she had been taken away from him and it was hard for him not to wonder what could have been.
As he approached her casket, he peered inside and saw her laying there, brunette hair brushed out of her face and flowing off to the side, her face pink and semi life-like, and her eyes gently closed. Her hands were folded across her breast and she looked so peaceful to him. He hadn’t really been to many funerals in his life (two that he could think of, though he was very young in both cases as one was his great-grandmother and the other was an uncle who died when he was 5 in a car wreck), but he wondered why her casket was only open from the waist up. sides of the casket and saw a couple small latches, which he fiddled with until they came undone.
As he opened the lid, he immediately noticed that his girlfriend was being buried barefoot, her toe tags still on her feet, pressed between her toes and the silk lining of the foot of the casket. More peculiar though was that a strange black bag had been placed near her right ankle. A closer look on it though made him certain he didn’t want to open it. It was her viscera bag (though he didn’t know the proper term for it), and written on it was that it contained “various organs removed during autopsy.” Why this would be interred with her he had no idea, but he simply shook her head. He looked over his shoulder to ensure that he was alone and then he leaned in at the foot of the casket and kissed her gently on the top of both of her cool feet.
Suddenly, he heard someone clear their throat. “You should probably close the lid, sir. Let me help you with that.” It was Mr. Kim. Thankfully, he had the decency not to draw any further attention to what he had seen. After closing the lid, he said, “Do you like coffee? Here, let me go and get you a cup.”
As they were sitting and enjoying coffee, Kim and the young man discussed all manner of subjects and he shared his experiences with his girlfriend while Kim listened patiently. Slowly over the next hour or so, people began to arrive at the funeral home where another staff member made sure they signed the guest book the family had set out. The boyfriend would return to the chapel not long thereafter and begin greeting a few of the people and trying to help out however he could. While many wouldn’t want to do that and would likely have just sat there, at least doing something active kept his mind off of the whole affair.
The service itself started promptly at 1:00 PM and there were quite a few in attendance for a weekday afternoon. The reverend at the Markal family’s church, who had known the young lady since her birth and baptism, had the honor of officiating the service while several family members, friends, and even a couple of Saema’s childhood teachers all came up to the podium at one point or another to share their memories of her life and to express their deepest condolences about her tragic death. Everything about the ceremony was meticulously planned and went off without a hitch, and everyone that attended seemed very touched by all of it.
Finally, her casket was closed and the pallbearers carried her out to the waiting hearse just outside the front steps. A small police escort would lead her hearse and the personal vehicles of those in attendance about a mile down the road to the small churchyard next to the church the family had attended for three decades. It was here, before the reverend said a few final words, that her casket was opened for the final time so that everyone could say their goodbyes.
A few attendees took photos with their cameras or smartphones and remarked at how great of a job the funeral home staff had done in preparing her body the way they had. Even now, many days after her death, laying in a casket about to get lowered into the ground, Saema looked as if she might get up at any moment. Yet, of course, this was not true, and after a few final moments the light of the afternoon sun was finally shut off from the young, cold body of Saema Markall as the casket lid was shut and locked and she was slowly lowered into the cold earth for what was meant to be her final rest.
And yet, would this young woman, tragically taken from a life cut all-too-short, truly rest undisturbed for all eternity?
Eternal rests are not, in fact, always eternal