A hollowness sat inside me. I felt lost and numb. I could not conceive the situation I was in. Alone in a suit, gazing down at the beautiful, peaceful face of my wife who was laying in the silk cushioned casket. My throat felt like it was closing up. I could barely breathe.
A small hand clasped my finger, tugging gently. I looked down into the large blue eyes, so much like my wife’s, and knelt down to pick up my small confused three year old daughter.
“Why is mummy sleeping at the party?”
“Because she was very tired sweetie,” I managed to choke out quietly.
I turned to look back down at the mother of my child. I reached down with my free hand to hold her delicate hand. The white gold ring shaped like delicate frosted branches glinted in the dim lighting. Elina should have her ring, I thought and gently wiggled it off her finger, pocketing it. I brushed the finger with the ring’s tan lines, that made me think of the many years we had been together sharing our lives. My chest constricting dangerously, warning of impending tears, I squeezed her lifeless hand one last time, clutching our daughter to my chest.
My heart stopped for the briefest moment as I felt the impossible. Those cold delicate fingers wrapped around my retreating hand, pulling my ring from my finger. I spun around to see the delicate hand gently falling back onto the silk cushioning with the gold band nestled in the soft creases of her palm. My eyes widened: She really did it.
I walked away toward the hallway outside the memorial service, pulling out my phone, heart pounding.
“Hello, I’d like to postpone the cremation of my wife. Could we possibly reschedule for tomorrow? I just can’t bare to do it today.”
You squeeze the hand of your loved one who is in a casket. They squeeze back.