I arrived early to the church for the service this morning. I quietly walked into the empty church and was struck by the small brown wooden casket at the front of the room. I experienced a physical pain in my chest that I am unable to find words to describe. I sat down. I sat in a chair near the casket and stared. I thought of his young corpse in the box. My mind wandered to the work that went into prepping him for his final lay to rest. He had to be embalmed, make-up applied, and the casket chosen. His mother had to choose the outfit that he would be buried in. I wonder if she had to decide whether or not to buy him a new outfit or wear something he already owned. I quaked at the thought of his mother having to contemplate whether or not to buy her dead son new clothes.
The Baptist church had twenty-nine stained windows. They were arrayed in red, blue and green rectangles that didn’t seem to have any specific order. They were placed only on the left side. The other wall was plain and white. It was a medium sized church with a painting of a cross at the front of the room. The casket acted as the alter. It was a dark brown with brass handles for the pallbearers. Nine rows of chairs were set up in two aisles with 12 seats on each side. Chairs were set up behind the casket and in the balcony as well. Two black speakers hung cattycorner above the casket. On the right of the seats there was a medium blue drum set that was encased in plastic. The church was silent, cold and very white.
There have been numerous questions asked and gone unanswered in the eleven days since the suicide. There is not one person that fully understands the pain that the boy felt or why he was in such an abundance of hurt that he felt there was no other way for him other than to commit suicide. Everyone has questions. There are no answers.
The suffering that the boy’s mother is feeling is indescribable. In a quick second she lost her only son, she lost one half of her set of twins, she lost one third of herself.
The services consisted of prayers, procession of the family, two speakers, two songs sung by an amazing singer, and a viewing of the body as the guests proceeded out of the church. One of the speakers was the boy’s twin sister. In the few words that the 13 year old girl was able to share about her twin brother she repeated,……. I miss him. His twin tearfully stated that he was not just her brother, he was her twin, her best friend, her baby…her everything.
She stood strong before us, but the hurt that she feels seeped rapidly out of her body, into the crowd and as it reached us her emotional horror crawled over every inch of the mourning guests.
Many of the boy’s classmates attended the services. Several students sported matching haircuts to the dead boy. Some had carved RIP in the back of their hair. A few still wore a red string tied around their left wrists.
Tears fell from the eyes of large rugged men. Women wept and children cried. There was nothing more heart wrenching in the room than the sound of the guttural wails that came from the boy’s mother.
At the end of the service the pastor opened the casket. He asked that the guests view the body of the young dead boy as they proceeded out of the church. I felt a physical pain in my heart and stomach that I had never felt before. He lay so full in the casket, quiet and still. Eleven days ago this child was alive, smiling, and teasing his twin sister. Eleven days ago he decided to string himself up in his bedroom and hang to his death.