Orphan

My parents both died on October 18, though eight years apart. Mother was buried in Raleigh, where I spent most of my young life. Daddy, though, had lived with me in Tennessee for his last two years, so I shipped his body to North Carolina to be buried next to his beloved.

I was busy when I got to Raleigh, meeting with folks at the funeral home and at the cemetery to make final arrangements.

A woman at the cemetery office said, “So, we’re burying your mother.”

“No,” I said. “You already have my mother. My father is joining her.” I had already discussed our situation with these people over the phone and was surprised by the error.

“Oh,” she said with great sympathy. “You’re an orphan!”

What?

I looked at her and then at George. Opened my mouth, then closed it. Then opened and closed it again, without words.

Like a fish. Completely speechless.

Surely it wasn’t proper etiquette for a cemetery administrator to call a grieving family member an orphan.

It took a minute or two, but I finally recovered enough to say, “Actually, my Heavenly Father adopted me so I’m not an orphan.”

She said nothing, but kept her smile intact.

“I’m surprised you would say that,” I added.

Still smiling. Seemingly unaware she had said anything inappropriate.

I shook my head, trying to make sense of this woman, then focused on paperwork that needed to be done for the burial.

Later, as we walked to the car, pent-up emotions got the best of me and I began raving about stupid people. Then I looked at George. And saw him quietly laughing.

Suddenly, I was, too.

We still laugh about it, years later.

I don’t know if the lady’s comment was intentional or if she was simply an idiot. I do know I’m grateful for humorous moments.

We could use more of them.

1 Comment

  1. Susie
    Sep 23, 2014

    you can’t fix stupid.

    unreal.

    that would be like going to a beauty shop and the stylist saying, “Wow! You’re a mess! How could you dare leave the house looking like this? Do you have mirrors in your home?”

    i’m sorry that happened to you and i thank you for sharing. Your adopted Father loves you dearly and so do I.

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