Amy’s grandma passed away. We went up to New Jersey for the funeral.
Never been a pallbearer before. First time for everything. Most of the pallbearer duty consists of just placing a hand atop the casket as it rolls on a wheeled stand from funeral home to church, but some lifting is needed needed when it comes to the curb. As I struggle with the handle and wrestle the casket those few vertical inches, my mind tries to form some metaphor about the weight of mortality, but it’s just a heavy casket.
Back in the funeral home, a praying mantis hangs out — literally — from a floor lamp, and an array of casket selections can be viewed in the office. After the funeral mass and burial ceremony, I spy an oblique cube headstone. It is, to say the least, unique. We then retire to a nearby diner for brunch. The pickles are amazing.
New York, the next day. We look at Asian art at The Met and eat sushi at Kiku. The waiter says they have a shipment of some excellent Toro in the sashimi selection. I order a piece. It’s $4, but is the most amazing fatty melt-in-your-mouth chunk of tuna I have ever eaten. Along with a few pieces of salmon it is one of those sashimi meals where I am sad to come to the end. Outside, a view of Midtown Manhattan.
It all feels so material and bodily. I feel like I should be grieving more, not touring about New York and absorbing classical art and raw fish. But I’ve always had this numb matter-of-factness about death, and a hope from tenets of my faith regarding the afterlife. A heavy casket, but lighter at least by the weight of a soul redeemed.