Some folks just hate to say goodbye. We all understand. We’ve been there. Separation brings tears when your baby gets on the school bus for first time. When your best friend moves across the country.
When children go to college - Wait. No. Most of us throw a secret party when that happens. We love our teenagers, but by the time eighteen rolls around, everybody needs a break. I remember thinking, don’t let the door hit you in the patookie on the way out. He knew everything, and I knew nothing. Boy, did he need to get out in the world.
Of course, the final goodbye is the hardest. And there are some who simply can’t handle the departure. Will never handle it. I like to think that those who have passed on to their soul’s next phase are at peace, maybe at long last. We who are left behind are the ones who endure the pain of loss. But for a strange demented few, they do pretty bizarre things - as I’ll explain in a bit.
It’s October. Halloween month. Creepy stuff displays are in the stores. Some of it way too icky for me. Especially the pretend corpses shown in various states of decay. I know lots of people who love that sort of thing as Halloween décor, but I am not one of them. How in the world did the idea of displaying fake ‘dug up’ corpses ever become a thing?
Well . . . it stems from real life episodes over the centuries where people did exactly that. Dug up their deceased loved ones and moved them back into the house. Yes, really. There are references all through our history of folks doing it. Not a lot, thank God, but enough to make it not unheard of. Now, why the people way-back-when did it isn’t really explained, but the knowledge that they did do it was passed on. And on. And on. And now it’s a decorating thing in the age of glorified zombies.
Granted, a person would have to be missing more than one belt loop to even imagine committing such a gross act for real. But the human population has always had its percentage of loopers, hasn’t it?
A Detroit man moved his father’s body into a basement freezer because he was convinced Dad would come back to life. Ickier was a woman named Jean. Jean and her twin sister, June, were very close. When June passed away from cancer in 2009, Jean had her dug up after a few days and placed in a spare bedroom. But they weren’t alone. Jean had also been living with her husband’s corpse propped up on a couch for ten years. Ultra-ickier still, a man in Vietnam slept in his wife’s grave for years, until his kids made him stop. So he moved her into his bed, where he slept with her for another five years.
It’s not an ‘only lately’ kind of quirk. Nor is it limited to western nut jobs. There’s an island in Indonesia where the locals exhume their ancestors’ mummified remains every year. It’s like a holiday. They clean out their graves, put new clothes on them, take them for a pleasant walk about the village, then place them back underground.
The kicker is, from the pictures I saw, the poor dead people are at the mercy of their descendants’ fashion sense. This one poor old man got paraded around in a suit with a Hawaiian-print shirt and a red, green & white plaid tie. Lesson? Throw out your ugly clothes you kept meaning to give away before you kick that final bucket.
Yes, some folks just can’t bear to say goodbye. And if your skin isn’t crawling at the thought of these stories, it’s time to check your belt loops.
I believe the only way to get through the slings and arrows life throws at all of us is to find the humor.