Dives answered, ‘Then I beg you,Abraham, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
I woke up looking, as usual, at the ceiling. I noticed right away it was not my room. The ceiling was high and huge. The bed had sideboards and they did not allow me to roll over. What was this I thought? The sideboards were covered with a lace curtain and that was not a blanket over my feet; that was a box, a coffin. I was in a coffin. I noticed the soft music playing in the background. I slowly peeked over the edge of the casket. People were gathered. Lots of my friends and family. It couldn’t be, but this had the appearance of my funeral. With this realization I began to critique the funeral. Not as many people as I would have expected. The music was God awful. Where was my family? And then I did the thing that will live in infamy. I rose up out of the casket.
This caused quite the stir. My ever faithful wife declared, “What are you doing?’ ‘I am not dead.” I replied.” She retorted ‘You think I cannot see that.’ The people in the pews were now stirring and upset.’ My cousin shook his head in disbelief saying, ‘He is such a naïve liberal he does not even know how to die right. Liberals they are so useless.’
I heard a guest I did not recognize say,” I wandered in because I saw the good food but if it is going to be awhile before we eat if you do not mind I will be back in thirty minutes.’ Another person totally confused says, ‘if Mike did not die well who the hell did? I better not be here under false pretenses.’ Another voice from the crowd,’ Such a grandstander!”
In the back of the church, hurrying to the front was the funeral director. With an air of authority he declares, ‘Well, if you are going to stay you need to stick to the scheduled ninety minutes allowed for the room.’
My son looked at me, shaking his head spoke, ‘You probably want to go ahead with the funeral. You always need to be the center of attention. You never let the rest of us have room to breathe. I look at him with tears in my eyes,” You came!” My wife ever present states matter of factly, ‘Do not get too teary eye we had to bribe him with music festival tickets.” “But I am here” my offended son replied.
Everyone in the room is looking at me expectantly; they want to know what we plan to do. I feel inspired and think people might want to hear from a recently resurrected man. ‘ Let’s go ahead. I will deliver the message.’ Suddenly out of a side door comes my preacher brother with great bluster. Now Mike you need to think about you delivering the message most of the people came here because they want to hear me preach. After all funerals are for the living not the dead.’
Suddenly, I look at my wife ‘Why is my brother preaching at my funeral?’ “I couldn’t get anyone else and we are having to pay for him.” Continuing to look at her and why am I not at Bethany church?’ ‘It cost too much to transport your body.’ ‘You could have cremated me at least and then spread my ashes at Bethany right?.’ Exasperated to be honest she declares, ‘We have not gotten that far in the process.’ She continues, ‘But let me say this in my defense it took a lot of planning and money to pull this off. How was I to know you were going to ruin the whole thing?’
My oldest daughter walks up to me,” Dad I love you and everything but is this going to happen because I am scheduled to meet up with some college friends and hike this afternoon.’ I look at her and question, ‘You were not going to stay for the wake afterwards.’ She looks exasperated at her mother” I told you he would want one.’
My youngest daughter comes forward,’ Does this mean I do not get his Chinese prints? I have already chosen the wall for them’ she says disappointingly.
The crowd is totally in an uproar by now with no one knowing what to do. ‘If someone is going to have a funeral they at least should have the courtesy to stay dead. I paid for a hotel room to be here” ‘Are they going to have a service or not. I mean there are two preacher brothers surely we can get one passable sermon from them” “This is awkward. I did not want to be here anyway and now I do not know if the etiquette is to stay or go.” “This is probably nothing more than a radical anti-Trump statement. Mike does not even have respect for the traditions for a good ole fashion funeral.”
I state firmly ‘I have something to say.’ An angry voice from the crowd, ‘You have already done too much. Let your wife speak’ My wife rolls her eyes; in the most sincere voice she can muster she states,’ Let him have his say. You know we will never get out of here until he does.’ My son shakes his head in agreement, ‘Yea Dad get this over with.’ My oldest daughter is on her I phone rearranging her schedule; by her body language you can see she is not pleased with the change in plans she had so carefully orchestrated.
I begin to speak. “I am glad to see everyone here. It is a shame it takes a death to bring us all together like this.’ ‘Except there is no death and now we are stuck with each other,’ mutters my son. I continued “But I think this should remind us …” The funeral director steps forward and interrupts,’ if everyone could please wait for the family as they proceed out and then follow them. This would be great. As you know there will be no graveside service.’ The funeral director takes my wife by the hand and leads her down the aisle as my family follows. I am left standing at the front of the chapel alone. I shake my head get back in the casket and wait for my burial.