My First Death

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I first knew death when my aunt Mary died. I recently came across a picture that I had of my aunt Mary. It made me think about her. She’s the only person I had ever known to die. I have known a few people that ended up dieing but no one as close to me as she was. I have never felt more awkward about something then the day I was at her funeral. A gang load of older black women, friends and such of aunt Mary crying over her corpse making the church seem to be dark and depressing, a type of feeling that made me feel no good. I was not naïve at the age of nine, I was very aware of what death was and what it meant. I knew I would never see my aunt again she was dead.
My aunt Mary was a yellow toned woman that, at the age of nine, I was already taller than. She had gold blond hair down to her shoulders. Now Aunt Mary wasn’t my real aunt. She was the Godmother to my mom, uncles and aunts. She was married to my uncle Tabb, a sixty year old with never ending energy. Aunt Mary lived a couple streets down from my grand mother in Clarksville Tennessee. I was always at their house; they cooked constantly and kept the house stocked with sweets.
Aunt Mary had been sick for the past couple months, something was wrong with her kidney. She passed on a Thursday night, and her funeral was the following Saturday. That Saturday morning I stood in the mirror trying to tie my tie. I fumbled with the blue tie for a while before giving up. I threw the tie on my bed and walked down the hall of my grandparent’s house from my bedroom to the living room. I sat down on the old black sofa next to my grandfather. He was an average height dark and hairy man who in my younger years reminded me of Mickey Mouse. He talked about how it was OK that Aunt Mary was gone she was in a better place and at peace now. He went on for about ten minutes until my grandmother, wearing a long black dress to her ankles joined us; she gave me a big warm hug and a grannies kiss, leaving a big red mark on my cheek where her lips had been. We all proceeded down the steps to the front door and out to the car. There was a slight breeze, without a cloud in the pale blue sky. I sat in the back seat of my grandfather’s tan Nissan Altama that had seen better days. My eyes were out the window deep in thought about how much I didn’t want to go to this church and be around all the awkwardness that was sure to be around such a sad occasion. I couldn’t help but think that I should be sad, so why would every one tell me to be happy for Aunt Mary? I sat in the back seat of the car and wondered why I would be happy for someone that was dead; it didn’t make sense to me.
We were at the church in less than twenty minutes it was weird being here on a Saturday I thought to my self kind of like being at school at night. As I walked to the doors of the church in-between granddaddy granny the clouds were darker now you could smell the rain coming. As we entered the church the right side pews were filled with yellow toned people the same color as Aunt Mary and Uncle Tabb relatives of theirs. I knew none of these people and it only added to my feeling of awkwardness when we sat in the third row amongst this sea of yellow toned cousins, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, Aunt Mary’s real relatives. Walking to my seat I glanced up to see Mary in a shiny casket that I thought was beautiful a very dark maple polished to perfection.

The service started of with a song by the choir and was followed by a tall man in his late forties going to the alter. He turned out to be Eric, Aunt Mary’s oldest son I could see the resemblance between he and uncle Tabb as he talked. He talked about his mom with a pain stricken horse voice of someone who had cried a lot in the past few days, saying what kind of mother she was and how she raised him.

As the ceremony ended two men from the funeral service closed her casket and rolled her down the isle as her family followed out into the church parking lot round back to the cemetery. They placed the casket on the grave wind blowing harder now, clouds ready to let loose with Tennessee rain. The preacher said a final prayer as they began to lower her into the ground. As I looked at the casket for the last time all I remember seeing is the dark sky reflecting off of it.

My aunt Mary was the first death I had ever experienced and as I look back on it now I believe I would have been much sadder if it happened now opposed to while I was young. She was a mothering figure in my life and now knowing what a mother is I would have felt more as if I was losing a mom. Since I was eight I know a lot more about death and cope with it better because now I understand that she is dead but not gone





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