Dominic’s death was a tragedy. While I was in the hospital, Maximus had to go to the coroner’s office to identify the body. I can’t forget the look on his face when he came to see me that day, he looked so lost and like he had just walked out of a crime scene. I can read Maximus like a book; he can’t hide his feelings from me. I wanted to wrap my arms around him when he walked in, it was too difficult to imagine what he was thinking. We sat silently that day, there was nothing either one of us could say to make things better and we knew it. When I tried to ask him about it after my release, he said he didn’t want me to think of Dom like that, he wanted me to remember Dom the way I knew him. This brings tears to my eye, even thinking about it now.
The coroner has been patient with us and held on to his body for this long. It has been just over a month since the accident and I knew this day was coming. What does one wear to the funeral of her brother? Whatever I choose has to not get in my way when crutching. My closet is full of black clothes, but nothing feels right for the occasion. Maybe something simple? Maximus comes upstairs as I finish my makeup and put on a plain black top and black dress pants. Ever since the accident I haven’t been able to wear anything shorter than full length pants. There is an awful scar on my left shin where the doctor had the perform surgery to set the fragments. When I see the scar the images of that horrible night come back. The first week they overwhelmed me. Maximus wears a black work suit with a white shirt and a black tie, I have never seen him in anything so dressy. He offers me his hand; I place mine is his and he gives me a gently squeeze. Today is going to be the longest day of my life.
The drive to the funeral home seems to take forever. We don’t say anything. Maximus never takes his eyes off the road. His driving is stiff and rigid, ever since the accident. I knew there was nothing I can say to ease his demeanor; he would have to relax on his own with time. To be honest, I don’t know how he can drive at all, even the first day after he learned about the accident. Cars can be so dangerous; they are one of the deadliest inventions created by man. I’m not sure if I will ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle again. Dominic was always the most cautious drivers I have ever rode with and he still became a victim to the machine.
We are lucky that the funeral director has taken care of everything, the last thing Maximus and I have to do is decide whether or not to have the casket closed or open. Maximus supports me and I prepare myself to see him one last time. Again, this was something I never thought I would have to experience. We move closer to his casket and I find myself tearing at the sight of my big brother. The director has taken great care of his body and making him look good but when I look at him, I can’t help but think that this is not the brother I grew up with. Dominic had always been free with his looks, he never combed his hair to the side, tucked in his shirt nor had it pressed and wrinkle free. He wanted to remain as natural as possible to show that he was more than a product of the society we live in. I know the funeral director meant well and Dominic looks great, but this would not be what he would want. He would not want people to see him like this for the last time he is seen. This has to be closed casket.
The next few hours are a blur; I can’t remember any details of the funeral. So many people came up to me and Maximus and offer their condolences but what does it matter? What’s done is done and there is no changing the fact that we are all here because Dom is gone. Meghan and Grayson so up, offering their condolences. Both of them look good, Meghan is wearing a black sweater with a collar that folds down in the front and black dress pants that show off every curve she has. I have never seen her out of her scrubs. Her hair is laying down her shoulders and her jewelry is modest at best. I think if we had met any other way, we would not be friends but somehow, I can see a friendship forming between us. She comes to me immediately and gives me a hug that seems to suck the air right out of me and fill my lungs at the same time. Grayson comes up behind her, he looks so great in his black dress pants and blazer and dark grey button up shirt. His eyes avoid mine and he seems to be looking for the right words, I can’t blame him.
What do you say to someone who is at her brother’s funeral? Meghan tries to make me feel better, but I can’t find anything to say. They stay with me longer than everyone else but shortly they go find seats near the front. I watch them pick out four in the front row, my guess is they are keeping two for Maximus and me. I can’t remember much more about that day other than tears, Meghan giving me lots of hugs and Grayson seeming to be at a loss. It seems that the day was over before it really began, and I am thankful for that. Probably better than the pain that I most certainly felt that day.