Last Thursday, after two nights of poor sleep and a long day at work, I zipped off to an open casket wake for a first cousin of my husband’s. The deceased man looked stiff but at peace, his hands clean and perfectly manicured, his face ashen, a little bloated. In life, I hardly knew him, having met the guy once at a family holiday dinner a few years ago. The fellow’s 20-year-old niece knelt over him, sobbing. Very sad.
On reflection the next day, Friday, I couldn’t help but conclude that my system reached overload after the week I’d had, not at all a “bad” week, but an intense one, with physical death right in front of me and the specter of it for us all looming overhead a la Trump’s impulsive spoutings at North Korea. It felt calming and relieving to slow down, even though forced upon me by a migraine headache and likely a brief flu bug.