Empty vessel: Semi Turgid Man

I want to write about what happened to me at work today but  its not particularly interesting; it rained, then snowed, I came home, ate some beef, cleared up the kitchen and took my sone for a second jab. Hardly the zenith of interesting acts I’ll admit that, but work since my Pop passed is seemingly pretty pointless and I am questioning pretty much every move this one slippered leviathan of a company I work for makes. I’ve been there for 22 years I’m reliably told by Linkedin which I joined about 21 years ago and have never used. Fuck off business people, leave me alone, I am not here to be told what to do by jumped up try hards who never really amounted to anything in the past, present or the future… I can see all like Nostrodamus and believe me a lot of you are cruising for a bruising.

Paramount in my mind right now is the indefatigable dogged vision I have in my head of my Dad in his coffin, just repeating and repeating like a really unusual tasting blancmange, the taste remains on my tongue and no matter how much scrubbing of the toothbrush across making me gyp, I just cant shake it.

We entered the  funeral parlour, shop, office, no itas definately a Parlour, what the hell else could it be, just suits, somehow. Laura or Louise, whoever, was very earnest, very stayed, very sombre. She wanted me to be comfortable when I’m visiting my Dad. She sits us down and gives us instructions, we’re to go into this room where my Dad will be in a coffin and then I guess its upto us what we do, or what happens, I suspected not much will actually happen… Louise or Laura opens the door, to the first room, the air lock and then knocks to be allowed into the second room where Dad lies, a short pause and then I hear the door open and Laurs or Louise mumbles something, paused and then we hear her footsteps returning towards us. The first thing I ask obviously is,

“Is some one in there?”

“No its polite to knock”

Odd, but comforting I guess. She told us dad was ready and so we tentatively walked in, this unfathomable sad situation, the gift that keeps on giving. The man I called Dad pumped full of Formaldehyde or some such, embalming fluid; “Balmy fluid? I’ll have some of that, with gin” Dressed in his gear ready for the local, not a posh do, just a bar snack and a couple of glasses of red. Rigid, lying in a frilly, shiny cloth lined box (Beech, the cheapest one; he was being burnt after all). His features relaxed, a smile on his face, not a sneer, but a manufactured smile, he would never have been so relaxed to smile like that, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone smile like that, 88 years of living in the body had forged a visual personality, worn it out, like an old cardigan, holes in the elbows, and fraying around the cuffs. Dad was too perfect, almost larger, turgid with fluid, an imposter, Dead and definitely not in this vessel of a man who lay before me. At that moment he was gone to me; still loved, still remembered but not there. I touched his chest and it was solid, like a CPR training torso, I looked at this legs and the trousers lay ironed but strangely flat, the moisture gone, the muscle structure gone, the life which coursed around his blood vessels gone, everything gone. 88 years is a long time to live somewhere and to leave no trace is just not natural, I did it,I saw him, or what was left, and am not particularly pleased I did it, but then again I think if I hadn’t done it, I would be forever wondering. Now the memory is with me, but in a bottom drawer at the back with the passports and national insurance cards.

I said goodbye, to the figure in the box, and asked if Louise or Laura could remove his watch and give it to me, nothing flash, a battered old Seiko with a metal strap (always thought the strap a bit flashy) and we walked back out into the cold to the shopping centre where I changed the strap for a soft brown leather one. I see Dad every time I look at the watch now, not in the watch, in my head, i’m not insane.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. It must be tremendously difficult for you and your mother.
    My husband and his sister had a viewing of their mother when she died. They said she looked God awful. There was no remnant left of their mother in that painted lady. I guess people don’t talk about these things. I hope you can put another image in your mind to remember your father.

    Liked by 1 person

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