Author note: This was a class writing exercise. The assignment was to write a scene in first person point of view from one character’s perspective and a third person point of view from another character’s perspective.
People all around me were crying, but I couldn’t seem to join them. I knew that I should, considering this was my mother’s funeral. No tears came, though, just a mix of good and bad memories. More bad than good, especially when I thought about the final time I heard my mother. I didn’t actually speak to her because I forced her to leave a message and then never called her back. She had asked me to come and visit her. Although I knew she was sick, I didn’t think that she would really die. I thought that I had more time. I hadn’t spoken to her in three years, when she told me that she wouldn’t support my new relationship. Kelly and I had actually broken up since then, but I still wasn’t willing to talk to my mother again, at least not yet. I wished now that I hadn’t been so stubborn, though. Perhaps we could have found some common ground.
The minister was speaking about my mother and reading bible verses. She had always been a regular church-goer, but I hadn’t been here in a long time. I couldn’t seem to stop fidgeting. It didn’t help that people around me were staring at me and whispering. I knew they were talking about my estrangement from my mother. They were probably surprised I went to the funeral. In a way, I was a little surprised, too, but I had to at least see her one more time, even if it’s just her body.
As people lined up to go up to the altar and pay their respects, though, I started to wonder if I should even go up there. Was there a point to it? My mother wasn’t there anymore. All I would see was her body. There was no hope of reconciliation now. Just as I was beginning to think about leaving the church and never going up there at all, my aunt came storming up to me. “So, you decided to show up to your mother’s funeral…” she began. I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to her. I just stared down at the ground and thought about all the times I could have fixed things with my mother and failed to do so. I didn’t even try. “Well, it’s too late now,” my aunt said as if hearing my thoughts.
Now, after not being able to cry for days, tears came to my eyes and I looked up at Linda. “I wish that I had come to see her when she was still alive. We had a difficult relationship. You know that. She didn’t support me. Still, I wish that I had at least said goodbye to her. Maybe we could have forgiven each other. But, as you just said, it’s too late for that now.”
I looked up at the altar, and there was nobody there now. So, I walked up to the coffin, not even knowing what I would say to my mother’s body, not even sure why I was bothering to do this. She was so pale as I looked at her. All I could think about was how full of color and life she was, even when we were fighting, which was often. “I’m sorry, Mom. I’m not sorry about who I am or my relationship with Kelly, but I’m sorry that I didn’t even try to talk to you again. I’m sorry that I shut you out completely. I wish that I could go back in time and call you back and actually come to visit you, but I can’t. And I loved you, despite everything that happened between us.” I gave one last sad smile to my mother before I walked down the stairs, ignoring all the people looking at me and whispering about me, and headed back out the door.
The church was quiet except for a few choked sobs, a few whispers here and there as those who knew and loved Alice Thompson paid their respects. As Linda Foster walked up to the coffin, all she could think about was how much Alice had wanted to make up with her daughter in her final moments. Yet her daughter never came when she was alive. Here she was, though, at her funeral.
Linda had been watching Chloe throughout the funeral. Even as the minister was speaking, Chloe had just looked around and fidgeted. Linda smiled one last time at her sister and walked back down the stairs. There was Chloe, standing near the end of the church, looking like she was about to make a run for it, not even trying to go up to see her mother’s body. Linda pursed her lips. How could Chloe be so disrespectful at her own mother’s funeral?
Linda marched up to Chloe as it looked like she was about to walk out of the church. “So, you decided to show up to your mother’s funeral. How nice of you. It’s too bad you couldn’t find the time to actually talk to her while she was alive. When was the last time you spoke to her, three years ago? Well, it’s too late now.”
Chloe was looking down at the ground as Linda snapped at her. When she finally looked up, Linda was surprised to see tears in her eyes. “I wish that I had come to see her when she was still alive. We had a difficult relationship. You know that. She didn’t support me. Still, I wish that I had at least said goodbye to her. Maybe we could have forgiven each other. But, as you just said, it’s too late for that now.”
Chloe finally walked up to the coffin as Linda stared after her. Chloe stood by the coffin, talking to her mother for a few minutes. Finally, she turned around, wiped her eyes, and walked down the stairs and out of the church without a word to anybody else.