Episode 9 — The Quiet Hour
In the late afternoons, close to quitting time at the mortuary, we would have a regular visitor. It is strange to call her a ‘regular’ visitor, in a way; she was also termed an ‘irregular’ visitor, too.
Why, you ask? Well, Mrs. Kinsey, it appeared, found herself in an odd sort of dilemma: she wasn’t sure when it would be an appropriate time to bring Mr. Kinsey home.
Mr. Kinsey died about a month earlier and was cremated, his ashes placed inside a very nice urn. The service took place in our chapel shortly after. However, Mrs. Kinsey grappled with her grief, missing him so. She did not quite know how to handle bringing him home in his new ‘form’ so she prayed about it a lot. Her prayers still did not provide a clear resolution to her problem, it seemed.
Mrs. Kinsey asked Mr. B if it would be any trouble to allow her to ‘visit’ Mr. Kinsey each day at the funeral home until she could sort it all out. Of course, Mr. B told her that would be fine. Therefore, it was to become a daily ritual or appointment.
Each day, around four o’clock, she would arrive to visit her beloved husband. She was politely ushered into one of the slumber rooms where the urn containing her husband awaited. The door was closed and she would quietly sit in there, speaking in hushed tones to him, telling him about her day. Tearfully, she’d tell him how much she missed having him around the house. She talked to him about the grandkids, her flower garden, and the condolence calls she still received from friends and relatives.
This daily visitation went on for a month or more, and the longer it continued, the more concerned Mr. B became about Mrs. Kinsey’s failure to ‘move on’ with her grief. There is no set time limit for one to mourn. However, to stagnate such as this, was, well, ‘irregular.’ He thought about how he might approach her with the topic. It is just one of those things that makes for an awkward situation, but is to be completely expected when your work involves helping the living and the dead to separate from each other in a healthy way.
Finally, he decided he’d have to nudge her into the next step. She needed to take him home, where he belonged. When she arrived Mr. B greeted her with his kind smile and he asked her if he might have a word with her. Together they went into the slumber room, closing the door behind them. Nobody knows what was said, but after a while, the door opened. Mr. B was carrying Mr. Kinsey’s urn, which he set down on the parlor table. He summoned CJ to come up and help Mrs. Kinsey to her car. He took CJ aside and told her what to do and how to go about it. Mrs. Kinsey emerged a moment later, drying her tears, thanking Mr. B for everything. CJ followed Mrs. Kinsey to her car, with urn in hand.
I watched from my hiding place near the door. Mrs. Kinsey opened the trunk of the car. She motioned for CJ to set the urn inside. Then, she exclaimed, “Oh my! No! I don’t think that will be right!” CJ carefully picked up the urn and the trunk lid was closed. Mrs. Kinsey opened the sedan’s back door and shut it again, in obvious indecision as to where Mr. Kinsey should “sit.” CJ suggested that Mr. Kinsey could ride home in the front passenger seat, where he usually sat. Mrs. Kinsey appeared relieved that someone else could make the decision. And, so it was. Gingerly, CJ set the urn upon the seat, snapping the restraint snugly around Mr. Kinsey, assuring he would be safely seated for the ride home. She closed the door of the car and turned to give Mrs. Kinsey a hug. CJ waved goodbye as they pulled away, then came back inside the building after the taillights disappeared. Apparently, they ‘lived’ happily ever after, as we never saw Mrs. Kinsey again.