That seems to be the question everyone has been asking. I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out myself. I’m going through the motions, like I’m sure many people are.
Yesterday, after the funeral, the bubble burst. (Yes, there HAD been a bubble!) I was in complete shock, then enraged followed by devastated… and yet, there was still hope. Sort of. I theorized that perhaps Natalie had staged her own death. It’s not THAT far out of the realm of possibility… I got to hand onto that thought for about 30 seconds before Tayla said “know what concerns me about that? That she could find a body that looks enough like her to put on the casket…”
They had her cremated. I knew they would but I didn’t realize when. I’m glad I didn’t know otherwise I never would have left. It was at the visitation that I’d asked when the cremation would take place and several people had said she’d be at the funeral. More than likely they’ll do it after the funeral service.
When I got to the church, I didn’t see her casket. “Where is she?” I asked. Someone told me she was at the front of the church, in the urn.
My blood went cold and my brain froze. No. That’s not right. Is it?
I walked into the sanctuary and made my way up to a small table that held her. The urn was beautiful. Soft pink roses etched and gold trim…
“Ha! I’m finally taller than you” I said to her.
I laughed to chuckled over my stupid joke before bursting into tears.
Don grabbed my elbow and led me to the first row of pews and I sat down.
As the service started, I needed my brother. I asked Tayla to switch spots with Justin and leaned my head onto his shoulder and cried some more.
“We are here today to remember and celebrate the life of…”
The blood rushed to my ears. My heart beat so fast I thought it was going to give out. “Don’t say it” I thought. I willed myself to not hear her name.
“Natalie Nicole Allen”
Son of a bitch! No! That’s not right! It’s not fair… it’s too soon. Like I’m some sort of expert on fairness and timing…
We sang a few songs, Jill (a friend of the family, really more like extended family) read a poem my mom wrote, the pastor read the back of the memorial handout, a couple more songs and then it was over.
It was time for cookies and coffee.
I felt like I was in a daze for most of it. I talked to a lot of people. I looked at the pictures on the boards and the slideshow that played in the background. Before people started to shuffle out, we played the song that Natalie requested (repeatedly) over the years be played at her funeral. “The Curtain Falls” by Kevin Spacey.
Once we got home, it hit me. Hard. I cried. And cried and started to scream and wail. I had to bury my face into a blanket because my grief was so loud. Sounds I’ve never heard myself make before were flowing, uninhibited.
I scared Tayla and she cried too. I got into the bed and she curled up next to me and we cried together. Until we fell asleep.
Then it was today. I’ve never felt so lifeless in my life. So heavy and depressed. I cried some more and again, thought my eyes were going to swell shut.
I grabbed my purse and pulled out the pamphlet and business card of the medical examiner. I thought momentarily about tossing them but decided against it. On a day when I have more energy, I will post it. I want people who use to see it. See what they will leave family and friends with… along with the gaping hole inside their loved ones.
I took a nap this afternoon and had my first dream in a week. It was indirect but it was about Natalie. I was dreaming in metaphors. I’ll tell you about it sometime.
For now, I guess the next step is to find out the autopsy results and hopefully talk to the police about what they found on her phone. See if we can find the son of a bitch that sold her that shit…
And to cry. Let it out and then, try to imagine a life without Natalie in it, in the way I’d grown accustomed to. She’s still around. I know she is. She’ll make herself known when she can. She has to.