As I walked through the already opened door, I felt that my tears were hotter than the rest of my body. I looked down to see one ladybug jumping from person to person as they entered the room. Right away everyone wanted to flick and squish it, but I felt like it was so odd that it stayed for a few seconds and was on to the next. As I lightly placed it back on the plant so it could continue to greet others, I realized each step was getting heavier but so much lighter as I went on.
It was a beautiful venue; everything was so clean and crisp; the walls were tan; I'm sure if they were dark, not a single person would feel as comfortable. The hallway was long and kept you guessing what door would lead you to the casket. I think I may have been the only one not looking for the next room but rather for where the tears and sobs were getting worse.
We all have this mindset that we'll grow old and pass away and that's life, right? What we miss in the process of this shaped reality we've created is that not every day is the same, not every person opens their eyes in the morning, and not every voice is heard the next day. While I signed my name in the book, my vision was still blurry, so I worried it wouldn't be neat enough, seeing as it was the last spot of the page. I dropped the pen and continued walking toward the cleanest, brightest flag I have ever seen rested on top of a casket. I wanted to be strong enough to wipe the tears and pray clearly but, as I knelt and began to speak in my head, there was just no way. It’s like this pain that forces every part of your mind to remember all of what they have done for you, but also all they would have done.
I was there with two friends and students of my teacher. From afar, I had already noticed that the altar only had space for two people to rest their knees. I first thought of being selfish and going up by myself so he would only be listening to me at the time, but, with the river flowing down my face, there was nothing else I was afraid of more than doing it all myself. I turned around and noticed this man that had been standing alone waiting for his turn and knew that even though he was a stranger these kind of moments it really does not matter and we are all family. That is when I then felt the most comforting hand rest on my back by the older man that had agreed to kneel with me when I asked. This was because in reality I knew I couldn't do it alone, and I'm thankful he was there.
I want to say thank you; I want to speak to you one more time; I want to ask questions; I want to hear, "Hello Ms. Wheeler!" once more, and, I want you to tell me one more story. Mr. Yanaway, thank you for the advice, thank you for all the lessons, and, thank you for understanding that not every kid learns the same way. To all the second chances, to all the struggles you helped us all overcome and, to all the days you sat and listened, rest easy Yandog.
I thought the tears would stop as I reached the exit but, once again... It's never that easy.