Her next door neighbor had died: cancer. A bit too close to home; he was only months older than herself, and she lived every day in mortal fear of cancer; lived under its shadow–haunted by it, even though it was yet to touch her or any of family. Cancer always on her mind (brain tumor?) imagining the malignancy a living being, thriving deep inside her, stealthily creeping up on her, death–skin crawled at thought.
Prayed she wouldn’t be expected to attend his funeral: had been too many funerals recently (Granddad, Auntie, Granny… Dad); feared her mother dying–would be soon, very old. The woman so warm and loving in life, soon to become cold, naked bones, stone cold: no epitaph could do her justice. Imagined her funeral, like her father’s, herself bone cold, under black clothes and thin skin.
Her mother in a care home, frail and helpless–daughter must look out for self. Putting aside money for own funeral–determined she’d be buried, not cremated. Apart from her mother, family scattered–like ashes–abroad, or dead.
“Who’ll bury me?” she wailed to a close friend becoming distant.
“Well, I’ve got a shovel,” her friend had replied, trying to make light of the darkness.
“For the last time–your tests came back normal. No more tests to do,” doctor (old family friend) snapped, becoming impatient with her–a needy, neurotic patient.
Felt a bit better. All clear–would feel relieved for quite a while: ages since neighbor’s death–this latest worry laid to rest–like him, without her presence: funeral other side of country–another end of earth.
You can see what’s coming, can’t you? She didn’t: stepped out in road and knocked down by proverbial bus. She had not finished paying off her funeral. Next and last funeral hers–death had been delayed and hearse held up in traffic–not dead on time.
“She was late for own funeral,” thought her mum, who was too ill to be there for her daughter at crematorium.