I’m not really a superstitious person, but you won’t catch me dragging my feet if I have to walk past the cemetery at night. Most people I know have had some experience with death and know that a dead body isn’t going anywhere – unless it’s leaving the funeral home.
In spite of this, a lot of us go to great pains to avoid being anywhere near a body that no longer lives and breathes. And we want nothing to do with anything that is associated with it.
My sister-in-law regales us with the story of the time when she and her husband-to-be were hunting for a place to live. One of the apartments they viewed bordered a cemetery – it was so close that if they put a hand out the window they would have touched a headstone. Her husband is notoriously superstitious, so even if it was the cheapest place they found he wasn’t going to be living there.
But just last week, I visited a family who lived mere yards away from a burial ground that was attached to a church. I noticed that there wasn’t a much of a fence between the graveyard and these people’s house – and then I thought that it really didn’t matter because those occupants can go visiting any time they want – usually without us being any the wiser.
The family has grown accustomed to their location, but as was the case when we were there, it is always the first topic of conversation.
It was after this visit that I saw this story taken from the Sydney Morning Herald, of a health facility that refused to take a body for storage because it was too heavy – some 400 pounds too heavy. It was declined because the director of the facility said that it did not have equipment to accept bodies of that size.
But what really struck me was the fact that the funeral home director said that she was forced to drive for two hours with the body in her car until alternative arrangements could be made to store it.
And I remembered the day several years ago when a hearse was brought into my place of business to have some work done. Unfortunately, the person who brought the vehicle had parked it in such a way that it was causing an obstruction, but he had already left before I could ask him to move it.
So I directed one of my employees to move it to another area – but he absolutely refused to do it. He acted like I had asked him to go to the depths of hell and bring me back a sandwich. He was so distressed about it that I had to look to see if a body was still in there.
Realizing that I had a superstitious one on my hands, I decided not to make a big deal about it but to move the vehicle myself.
Of course, I’d never driven one of these chariots before, but a vehicle is a vehicle, right?
However, when I put my arm on the top of the seat and looked out the back window preparing to reverse, I was struck by the empty space devoid of the usual seats. And then my skin started to tingle. And then it started to crawl. And then I slammed in the reverse gear, parked it and got the hell out of there.
I know the day will come when most of us will take that one last drive while lying in the back, but that day at work, I can tell you that I was most happy to be the one sitting in the front.