A story of struggle, defiance, and reflection

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 cremated. After a brief discussion with his wife, Samantha, the issue was solved. He will be buried. So, it was declared.

On the day of his funeral, to the people in attendance, Richard was a dead man. But, to him, he was alive being placed in a casket aware of what is happening around 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, sadly, 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 smile. In a flash, he reflected on his life and how he spent it entertaining every Tom, Dick, and Harry, add to that Samantha’s parents, her siblings and few of her girlfriends of whom he secretly dined and wined. He recalled how extensively he alone traveled and on occasions taking his kids to every museum, ocean, and concert, but to no house of worship or spiritual place. He recalled how he never visited his parents in their old age, nor paid them respect.

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. He 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 lifeless 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 friend.”

“Oh, my Lord,” he screamed. “What are you doing? I wished my body to be buried — why are you preparing my body to be burned alive?” he asked himself, and loudly screamed, “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 desired.

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 wished and desired.” He screamed, “stop, stop,” and screamed, but, to no avail. He is trapped alone — his family members, friends, and all people he knew are gone, and no one was left in sight.

Poor Richard, while awaiting his heavenly sentence, he received the sentence of man on earth while he was alive.

About the author: Dr. Abraham Khoureis is a multi-talented thought leader who uses his writing to advocate for positive social change.

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