I returned home and began making funeral arrangements for my son. I corresponded the time for when my wife would be home as she needed to stay at the hospital for a few extra days as her recovery was being monitored by the experts at the Women’s Hospital. Once they felt that her recovery was underway, they made arrangements to send her home with home care for the next several weeks. In light of the abandonment of support during this journey we opted to not have a public funeral. Instead arrangements were made to have a private graveside service at the cemetery.
Our son was to be transported up from the coastal city. We coordinated the timing with the City so they could have the burial plot prepared for the funeral director’s arrival. The grave marker would take a few weeks to prepare, but that corresponded with the plot itself being ready as they cemetery required that the ground settled first, before installing the permanent marker. The day came and I gathered up our four children and put them into our van, then returning to help my wife make that painful physical journey as well. We arrived at the cemetery within a few minutes of when our son was to arrive. Some staff from the city was on hand to care for the casket.
Ten minutes when by. Twenty. Forty, and still nothing. We returned back home, my wife now in a lot of pain to try and figure out what had happened. As it turned out the funeral home did not realize how long it would take to get there from the coastal city and along the way they had stopped for lunch, not thinking how important the timing of their arrival might be. We were told they would be there within the hour so we made the journey once again back up to the cemetery. However, when we arrived we had to park away from the entrance as another scheduled funeral was underway.
I parked the van just outside the fence at the far end of the cemetery. Fortunately, it was just on the other side of the fence from our son’s burial plot. Arriving twenty minutes later than their last promised arrival time, the funeral home’s transport vehicle arrived. It was a simple van that pulled up to the caretaker’s shed before being redirected away from the funeral proceedings well underway and over to the burial plot at the far corner of the property. They pulled up beside this unmarked grave, hopped out of the van and unloaded a white casket onto a stand beside the hole. Without saying a word and without acknowledging me or my family, who were standing on the other side of the fence, they got back into the van and drove away.
We waited for another half an hour for the other funeral to finish before the City staff made their way over to our son’s burial plot to take care of his casket. Without a word to us they lowered the casket into the ground and finished their work on the plot, all the while we stood on the other side of this chain link fence watching. This was not how I wanted the burial of my son to go, but then again I did not want to be burying my son and in terms of funerals not going as I had wanted I had a track record of that being the case.
My children were back in the van, along with my wife, who because of the pain she was in, needed to watch the final moments from inside the van. I stood at the fence a bit longer, composing myself and wiping the tears from my eyes before offering my final goodbyes. Turning toward my family I went back to the van and took everyone home all the while thinking that no parent should ever have to bury their child.