Little Margaret had never been to a funeral before and was pretty sure she didn’t want to go to this one. Grandma Mabel had left her behind; left her to bake her own cookies, to tuck herself in at night, and to read her own bedtime stories. Grandma Mabel had been the only one who had understood her, the only one who cared about a dirty, skinny girl abandoned by her real family.
With a tiny shove from her foster father, she approached the casket, aware of everyone’s eyes upon her. She stood on tiptoe and peeked over the edge. Her grandmother lay peaceful and sleeping, looking fake and real at the same time. Her reading glasses perched on the end of her nose and she was dressed in her favorite flowered dress worn only for special occasions. A tear spilled down Margaret’s cheek as she realized this was the last special occasion Grandma Mabel would attend.
They told her she needed to say goodbye; that she needed closure, whatever that meant. As she looked at Grandma Mabel’s pale face, covered in wrinkles and too much makeup, she knew she couldn’t say it. She didn’t have to say goodbye because no amount of time could erase Margaret’s memories; the gentle warmth of a grandmother’s arms, the comforting smell of earth and rosewater, Amazing Grace’s sweet melody. Even at her tender age, Margaret understood that in some ways Grandma Mabel would live forever.
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