A story of struggle and defiance
By: Abraham Khoureis, Ph.D.
Four weeks before his demise, Richard prepared and notarized all of the necessary documents to transfer his accumulated worldly possessions to his next of kin. A Health Care Directive was signed for his wife to manage his health affairs. A Durable Power of Attorney for his financial affairs. A Living Trust to transfer his real estate holdings to avoid probate. And a formal Last Will and Testament to bequeath his jewelry, pieces of fine art and personal belongings.
Richard purchased his own lot in the cemetery in preparation for his final resting place. Only one issue he struggled with: be buried, or, be cremated. After a brief discussion with his wife, Samantha, the issue was solved. He will be buried. And, so it was declared.
On the day of his funeral, and to the people around him, Richard was a dead man. But, to him, he was alive being placed in a casket aware of what is happening with him. He can see his friends and family members lining up to greet him farewell. He recognized them all. Attempted to greet them back, but, he can’t.
He felt trapped. He was trapped.
As he looked up, he saw the tears of his wife, and also saw her wicked smiles. In a flash, he reflected on his life and how he spent it entertaining every Tom, Dick, and Harry. How extensively he traveled while ignoring his kids and family. And how he took them to every museum, ocean, and concert, but to no church. He recalled how he never visited his parents in their old age.
He felt as he wants to stand up and stay away, away from the casket, but, how can he, he just can’t. He screamed loudly. And was heard by no one. He realized, he was dead, but his soul was trapped and remained in his body alive.
As everyone left for the night, he rested awaiting what is to happen to him next.
He was awaken by two workers of the mortuary pushing his body towards an oven whose flames were set at 1,400-2000 degree Fahrenheit. The workers lifted his body and placed it in a wooden coffin; looked at it, and uttered: good bye.
“Oh, my Lord,” he screamed. “What are they doing? I wished my body to be buried — why are they preparing my body to be burned alive?” he asked himself. And screamed loudly, “STOP, STOP, STOP…”.
Unknown to him, his wife, at her discretion and for practical reasons changed his wish from burial to cremation. After all, he gave her the permission to make the changes and decisions as she desires.
The oven’s door opened and his body on a moving belt was guided into it. Speechless, he summoned his faded energy and screamed, “don’t burn me. Don’t burn me … I was a good man, why are you putting me in hell, I deserve to be buried as I desired?” He screamed, “stop, stop,” and screamed, but, to no avail. He is trapped alone — his family members are gone, and no one left in sight.
Poor Richard, while awaiting his heavenly sentence, he received the sentence of man on earth while he was alive.