Bench

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We walked out of the church, being greeted by a generous old woman. She grabbed our hands and shook them as she began to pray with us. She reminded me of grandma, gentle and passionate. The woman was like an angel, reaching out for us. Trying so hard to heal our pain from the loss. We stopped and closed our eyes to pray. Inside our heads the thoughts were empty. Outside, the world was still moving. People were going about their days, ordinary and unaffected, unlike us. Did they know what we were going through? Did anyone take the time to look up at the dark church on the hill?

Ignoring the answering and accepting the silence I stepped onto the grass. We walked towards a wooden bench, it creaked as we sat down. Still and quiet we sat together. He just looked at me and took a deep, heavy breath “Now what?” I just stared at him, I had no answer. I didn’t know what would come next, I hadn’t come to me yet. We looked back into the dark church. The wide doors were stretched open, like god was greeting whomever dared to enter with open arms. Everyone was hugging each other. Strangers we hardly knew showed such deep remorse and compassion for my family. I grabbed my brothers hand, gently and with only my fingertips, “Let’s just sit here a while.” He agreed with no words and gently squeezed my hand back. We sat for a few moments until grandpa emerged out of the church. We silently moved over for him and he sat down next to me. As Pa sat down he let a sigh out of relief. For a moment he was comfortable, for once in that cold week. The motion of moving over seemed as if it was machine operated, we just moved like cranes. I just stared into the church. I couldn’t move. Chris looked at Grandpa and said under his breath, “ I should go back in. They will be carrying out the casket soon.” He got up and walked into the church, no one spoke. He crossed his arms, as if they’d block the view of his tears. It was him who would be carrying out the casket. Hiding it from himself to heal the pain. Like all of us, he wanted to be strong. Pa grabbed my shoulder and nodded his head, we had to go back in. We stood up together, helping one another to stand and take a step in accepting the loss. “Grandma wouldn’t want us to be sad.” His voice was tender, pa knew she was happy where she was. “God needs her Stacy, he needs her to help him up there.” I already knew she was happily in heaven, but at that moment there on that bench I also knew grand pa realized she was gone, and as hard as it was he was okay with it. We walked into the church, squeezing each other’s hands. That bench healed us, and I knew grandma would be proud.





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