Softly She Asked Me

RDP Tuesday: SOFT

My job was not to sell coffins- I didn’t even sell the flowers or the headstones.

My job was to guide the family to the catalogs that we kept in plain leather binders in the consultation rooms to select their flowers and markers and I would blend into the woodwork when I took them into the sample room where the coffins and urns were displayed.

In my ‘there but not there capacity’ the questions were the same- what kinds of flowers do you choose for a young woman? ” Sometimes people would say that ” Dad said just to put him in a plain pine box ” and I would walk with them- not lead them- to our ‘traditional’ coffins.

Because this part of the planning was always going to be the same, to shake things up I used to play this little game in my head where I timed how long it would take for those questions to pop up and who would do the asking- most of the time I got it right.

But one time- and one time only this very nice elderly lady grabbed my arm gently as we went into he room where sample room where the coffins where. Her family broke away from us because  a traditional model was not their choice and they clung to each other or walked close to each other as they inspected the samples ( there were no complete   coffins in the sample  room parts of them were displayed on the walls ) . Like most people they reached out and almost touched the handles – almost.

” Dear, ” she whispered ” I have a question ”

She leaned against me a little and  said softly into my ear. ” Are the pillows that come with the coffins comfortable?  Because if they are not, I’d like my husband to use his own, He had a bad neck you see. ”

I rested my hand on her forearm- lightly- and whispered back ” I would recommend he use his own. ”

She smiled and patted her on my shoulder. ” They ” she said about her family  who were  discussing the colors of the coffins in hushed tones, ” told me not to ask that, they said it was a silly question, ”

” It’s not a silly question at all. In fact it’s a very good one. ”

She looked right into my eyes to see if I was patronizing her and when she saw that  I absolutely meant what I just said, she took my arm  a little more firmly then before  and we joined, but did not quite rejoin the rest of her family.