(Male, 50s’) My dad has been gone for over 20 years so I only rarely dream about him but last night, I woke in a cold sweat.
Dad was dead and we had called the company that was going to bury him. We were waiting outside of large building on the sideway. Dad’s body was just lying there on the grass, still in a hospital gown.
A van pulled up and a professionally dressed woman got out. “First I want to congratulate you on your loss.” she said it very matter-of-fact, as if by rote, but it struck me as odd she said “congratulate” instead of “condolence.” But she continued talking her set spiel about how her company would take the best care of Dad. Before I knew it, she had Dad’s body in a body bag. The bag was made of extremely thick black plastic. It reminded me of Kevlar. Before she zipped it up, the woman put a laptop computer in the bag on top of Dad’s torso. “The computer lets your loved one know you cared about them up until the last minute.” She sealed the bag with an air of finality.
“Now, for a small extra charge we can escort your loved one to the van on a rolling cart.” She had already brought out this low wooden cart. I almost agreed but I asked how much the “small extra charge” would be. The woman replied that the cart would cost $150 and it would show everyone how much I cared. I was confused. Why would I spend that much money to have them used a cart to carry my dad’s body less than 20 feet?
I told her that I didn’t believe this was my father any more, just a shell he’d left behind and that I’d rather spend the money on booze for a party I would hold in his honor. Very well, the woman said.
And at that moment, the body in the bag started kicking. It was subtle at first, the legs just curled at the knees. But then the whole body started convulsing. I looked at the woman in case something like this was normal but the expression on her face said it clearly wasn’t.
“Is he still alive in there?” I asked.
The woman nodded but she stood as if paralyzed in fear.
“Then help me get him out.”
“That’s not possible. Those bags are completely sealed. They’re guaranteed.”
I knelt down by my dad’s body. He was thrashing around. Somehow I was then able to see through the heavy plastic fabric of the bag. His eyes were open. He was gasping for breath. But in addition to having limited oxygen in that sealed bag, it was filling up with liquid. He would drown in his own juices within moments.
“Get him out or I will sue you and your company into non-existence.” The woman clutched her clipboard and contorted her face but did nothing to help my father as he died, a second time lying there on the sidewalk.