On our way to the grocery store this afternoon, we were held up by a police car, lights flashing.
“There must have been an accident,” he said, but when we were finally allowed to move, I saw that it was a funeral procession, which, of course I had to explain. And then of course, I had to describe. And then — OF COURSE — I had to Google Image a hearse and a coffin and a person in a coffin.
“He doesn’t look dead,” he said when I showed him this. “He’s all dressed up.”
“Well, that’s what they do when someone dies, usually. They dress them nicely and make them up and then people who are close to the person who died can go in and look at him or her one last time and say goodbye. You can touch their face or kiss them if you want. But you don’t have to.” This is where I silently thanked God that we are not Christian and won’t have to suffer many wakes. Jewish funerals are closed casket, but there is usually a few minutes beforehand for the family to take a peek. And then, y’know, shiva. No mirrors, lots of deli platters and more rugelach than you can shake a stick at. It’s not a bad party, to be honest.
“What is all that stuff?” he asked.
“Well, sometimes they make the insides of the coffins very fancy with pretty pillows and satin sheets. Usually Jewish people are buried in plain wooden coffins with no fancy stuff.”
“I want a plain Jewish box,” he said. Surprising, really, given his propensity toward fancy. I would have put money on him saying he wanted a glittery rainbow coffin lined with cotton candy. (That’s totally what I want. Someone take note.)
This conversation went on and on as he talked about being underground and why all the people drive from the funeral to the cemetery and what is a funeral anyway? And how do they know how to write down what to say (eulogy) and people who die don’t have to be lonely because also goblins live underground!
And then, you guys. Then he goes, “When I die, I don’t have to be sad because I will always be with myself. Because I am The Who and I won’t have to say, ‘I miss The Who’ because I will always be with me. And you can love yourself forever and ever — even underground.