Is one of the more peculiar phrases I am finding myself saying as a Widow(ish)… But it’s true.
She really did.
When Chris died the police officers said I wasn’t allowed to see him because of his horrific injuries. I fought them. I physically fought them, pushing them, kicking them, throwing myself at them. It didn’t make a difference. All it did was make the female police officer start to cry…
The officers gave me a promise to calm me down. A ‘white’ lie if you will, but I’m not sure how white it really was. They told me not to worry. That the morning wouldn’t have been the last time I saw him – with hungover, blurry eyes as I mumbled a goodbye. The coroner will have a look at him, and you will be able to see him then they said.
The young girl on the end of the line, she sounded the same age as me. She stuttured as she spoke and I knew it was bad news… More bad news. I wouldn’t be able to see him. At all. So badly disfigured, not even the morticians could patch him up. That was it. He was gone. Really gone.
No more Christopher. Ever.
It was like being told he had died again. I howled, and I broke, and I fell to the floor.
No more Christopher. Ever.
I wanted to stroke my hand over the soft hairs on his chest and lay my head down so I could hear his heart beat. I wanted to stroke my hand over the back of his neck where I could feel the stubbly, prickly hairs starting to grow back from his haircut that I had given him. I wanted to cup his face, stroking his coarse beard with my thumb, and smile at him as I did whenever I felt that extra surge of love that just randomly hits you when you are with THAT person.
I couldn’t do any of it. He was gone. And I couldn’t even say goodbye. …
But back to the eaten hair.
The next stop after the coroner’s office was the Funeral Home where I was actually lucky enough to be able to hold his hands. I even tried to have a sneaky look underneath the white sheet, trying to grab as far as I could to give the best cuddle I could give (which consisted of me hugging his forearms basically).
I still wanted to stroke his hair. I still wanted to stroke his beard. Our Funeral Director was this lovely short and stout Scottish lady, loud and brash and full of humour… I wonder how she got into the business? Anyway, I digress..
I started making my ‘weird’ requests.
“Could I please have a lock of his hair? And ummm… Could you also cut off a bit of his beard for me?”
She reassured me that wasn’t the weirdest request she had ever had, and I don’t actually doubt her one bit.
I received the hair in two small fetching (sense the sarcasm) blue, velvet bags. On the inside the hair was zip locked into two miniature ziplock baggies, probably to keep it safe I imagine, rather than keep it fresh like it’s designed to do to cut up carrots.
I opened them up and took a whiff. This was it, this was going to be my connection to Chris I was so badly craving! I sucked up the air through my nostrils like one tries to suck up a thickshake through a straw at McDonalds and… “BLERGH!” I felt instantly sick. His hair didn’t smell like him at all. It smelt like a mix of cheap deodorant and formaldehyde (which the cheap deodorant was trying to cover). Now that was a smell I did NOT want to remember.
It didn’t even look like his hair! Well it did… But his hair had become ultra blonde from working in the sun however clumped together in this little tuft it was mousy brown. And without the contrast between the spiky hair on his neck and his skin it just felt coarse and, not like the back of his warm head at all.
Now don’t get me started on the beard clippings… I could have just got the same effect digging out his old shavings from the sink!! I don’t know what I was imagining when I asked for these things, but I guess it wasn’t this.
So there the two blue, velvet bags have sat, in a basket, in the corner of my kitchen bench for 10 months now.
Our dog is half beagle, half cocker spaniel. She LOVES jumping up and getting into things. ESPECIALLY bags. It was probably only a matter of time before they got grabbed… And I like to think she can still remember the smell of her dad.
Really she did me a favour in the end.
Here is a video of a Beagle doing what our dog loves to do. No joke I once came home from work and she was STANDING on the kitchen bench.