Sunday, June 24, 2007

Her Rock

He started by explaining to me that he had bought this ring for her birthday one year and it was her prized possession. She ran a shop that sold "Italian Ices" on the beach and everyone that came in to get some ice immediately noticed this rock on her finger. I know he told me but I don't remember the specs of the ring. What I do remember is that it was big, I mean real big, big to the point that if he didn't make such a "big" deal over it I probably would have thought it fake.

Since this was her prized possession and everyone that knew her knew of it he wanted it to be on her finger when people came to view her body. That was no problem, that was a normal request. One that I had received almost every time a woman was in a casket; whether it be earrings or a cross or a string of pearls jewelry was not uncommon to be on a deceased for viewing. Many times the family would request it back before burial and sometimes it was to be left with the body. This was one time when I knew it wasn't going to be buried with it's prized owner; once again understandable.

Aside from the size of this thing, the number 40,000 stands clear in my head. You read right, 40,000...dollars! His biggest fear was that someone (he might have meant me for all I know) was going to steal this off of her finger and told me that I would be personally responsible for making sure that didn't happen. Now I knew that this was going to be a large crowd and I was sure that he or she had told everyone that cared to know all about the size and cost of it yet nothing like that had ever happened to me. I explained that it would be very difficult to ensure it's safety and give them privacy at the same time so it might be best if she didn't have it on. I didn't want to be responsible. But, that wasn't an option; she was going to be wearing it. I wanted to just tell him that I wouldn't be responsible but I consented.

All during the visitation I watched the door almost expecting to see some unsavory character walk in ready to steal this ring. I even thought of calling the local police. I was getting paranoid. Every so often I would meander into the visitation room and glance at the casket looking for it. All seemed to be going well until near the end of the visitation he came to me almost running with a look on his face that I can't even explain. The first words out of his mouth were " IT'S GONE!!!!!!!!!!"

I asked him "are you sure"? It can't be gone it was there five minutes ago, this is bullshit I thought, he's trying to screw me. Who was in the room that could have possibly taken it? "Okay, please calm down, we'll find it" (I prayed). I knew we were insured for just these things but the thought of the funeral home on the front page of the newspaper with such interesting details about thievery had me reeling inside. Should I lock the doors and get the cops in here to strip search these people? Shit! All of these thoughts were running through my head at break speed when his daughter walked over as cool as could be and announced "Dad I took mom's ring off for you is that alright?". The two of us nearly melted into the floor and then just stared at each other and began to laugh. His response to her was "sure honey, that's fine", she handed him the ring, shrugged and walked away. The funeral home never made the papers, there was no law suit, he was happy with the services and the few gray hairs at my temples got much thicker that uneventful evening!


MedStudentWife said...

You know what's really sad about this story ?

It was never a "gift", from him to her.It sounds like it was another "collar" or a "you are mine" stamp she had to wear.

And she never knew it :(

DeathSweep said...

I thought that but i didn't want to even mention it. You'd be surprised how many :( of those things exist in this screwy world we live in. It sucks but it's reality sometimes.