Funeral Attire or Hospital Gown..!

They came in fancy funeral attire!

Friends and relatives in their Sunday best, carefully preserved for occasions like this; a funeral of a young relative!

I’d come early, and expected nobody! Because no one had come when she, with kidneys failing, and no money in the bank had dialed me for help. With the help of her kind neighbour, a youngster, with the spirit of a Good Samaritan in him, we’d got her to hospital, paid her bills, and got her through one dialysis after another, and then another call,

“Sir, I can’t see!”

I’d spoken to her husband in the US, her brother, and others, but even as they picked up the phone and heard me pleading, refused to step in, and at some stage there was no one to take her to the hospital, and none to lift her up the stairs.

So, sadly she decided that even if there was money to pay her bills, she would rather face death, then the mortification of strangers carrying her up and down.

Today, those missing relatives came in their liveried best! I watched, surprised as some burst into tears. “You could have saved those tears!” I whispered to myself, “If you’d taken it in turns at the hospital!”

There was a nip in the air, around this suburb so far from the city, and yet they had all come, braving the early morning rush, and now they greeted each other in hushed tones. I envied their tears, as they lowered her into the grave. There was a cry from one of her cousins, and I saw her brother dab his hanky to his eyes, even as he, suddenly conscious of my stare, turned his face away, guiltily.

A bit of mud flew from the gravedigger’s spade onto the shimmering black dress of a relative. I watched her rush hurriedly to a tap to remove the guilty stain, “She needs to keep the dress spotless,” I thought, “for the next funeral, and the next and next!”

I walked to the husband, he turned quickly away, thinking I might have come for the money I’d spent on her. I didn’t. I shook his hand, “It was lucky I was in India, in my mother’s house!” he said.

“Lucky?” I asked.

“Yes, not in the US, so I could attend her funeral!” he said.

“But if you were here, why weren’t you by her side taking her to the hospital for her dialysis?” I screamed silently, and walked away, shaking my head, and telling myself to calm down, that this was a funeral.

Yes, a funeral, beautiful clothes, wonderful message from the priest of the church just five minutes from her home.

And as they repeated an ‘Our Father’ twice around her grave, I felt a God above whisper, “I would have much preferred them with her in hospital gowns, then around her praying in their Sunday best..!

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14 thoughts on “Funeral Attire or Hospital Gown..!”

  1. Tears and many tears… Thank you Bob for sharing boldly the scenario of the funeral that takes place not only in one place but in many places..yes, We need to ponder…!

  2. The harsh reality of life. So wonderfully written. I had been agood Samaritan like this before, my eyes were moist when i read the narrative

  3. Well said Bob and as I kept reading I could feel the anger rise. Such pretentious and fake people around us. How can one sleep peacefully at night!! Thank you for courageously pouring out your frustration here, we can totally empathize.

    1. Thank you, Bob for setting such a great example for all of you follow and then this reminder! Tomorrow’s never promised, we know but to see someone we know fall prey to that is tough! Prayers to the departed soul!

  4. Thank you Bob, for being there for her, and also for letting us know briefly what caused her untimely departure. This loss feels like that of a family member. If with nothing (and nobody) else, I sense that she left with dignity, that which she reflected in the few times we spoke.
    This angst-filled article is so similar to a story in our school reader about the death of an accomplished man and the farce that followed. Thanks again, Bob, to let us also mourn her passing, and lament our shallow, selfish selves.

  5. Thanks for sharing this real life’s story, my teacher. This is a reminder again to me that true charity begins at home.

  6. Thank you Bob for saying it so well, yet maintaining the privacy of the lady I knew briefly but who lived a life of dignity. This article is a mirror to all those who should have been there for her instead chose to show up when it was too late, just to mark attendance and shed fake tears, as it happens at many funerals. God bless you for selflessly serving her when she was at her lowest. May her gentle soul rest in eternal peace with the Almighty 🙏

  7. It’s very sad , but reality of 21st century. She hoped from you the best at that very moment, so right . This article will definitely mirror lives of some reader’s to overlook at their attitude.
    God bless you Bob !! You’re generous contribution counts.

  8. Deeds speak louder than words. An example of humanity! Deeds silently undertaken, walking an extra mile to be at the side of the one who was ‘alone.’ Kuddos to you Bob, well recounted, touching our hearts telling us that deeds matter, hypocrisy and fake tears cannot deceive people for a long time, not to the Almighty who sees the heart!

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