The matter of mattering


I’ve always referred to my beloved as my beloved on this blog, except for once in the very early days. I call her that simply because that is what she is: my beloved. Now, it turns out that my beloved thought that I was calling her this for a specific reason – a Melissa Etheridge reason, actually. My beloved loves Melissa Etheridge, who apparently has a song called My Beloved. For all this time that I’ve been blogging and calling my beloved my beloved, she’s thought that I was calling her this because of that song. I found out because I wandered into my beloved’s shed while the song was playing, and I asked her if she thought that this song was why I referred to her as my beloved here. She did. It’s not the reason. But she did think that was the reason why.

We drove past a house today, and I noticed a sign that was over the front door. Now, this is a house that I would estimate that we drive past somewhere between 18-30 times a week. At least. But today was the first time I noticed the sign. And it made me smile. Because the sign looked a bit like this sign:

Now, I was never a big Yogi Bear fan. But seeing the words Jellystone Park immediately sent me back to Saturday morning cartoon land, and I smiled. And I bet that the people who live in the house with this sign have a little smile to themselves every day when they get home. So even though I don’t like Yogi Bear, I do indeed like this sign.

Because it’s something that matters.

Just like that song.

Something that has been given a meaning, an association, something that sparks off rememberings and memories and feelings and grounding in the history of who you are as a person.

Mattering is essential, because it anchors us in this world.

So when my beloved and I walked into a second hand store today and found three coffins for sale, I was totally fucking horrified.

Yes, I am serious.

They were labelled as “After Life Storage Boxes”, and were amongst the chairs and the tables and the bits and pieces of lives that have changed decor.

It could be just me. I’m aware of this.

But I don’t think coffins belong in a second hand store.

Because I think they are sacred.

They’re purchased as a “this is the last thing I can buy for this person” kind of purchase. And yes, they’re expensive. But… They matter. And while we were in the store, I saw people doing double takes when they saw these “storage boxes”. A couple of guys lifted the lid on one. Commented about it scaring the shit out of them. They shook their heads. Laughed. Looked uneasy.

Because two of these coffins were right at the entry of the shop. There was no missing them. The third, a white one, was in one of the aisles of this big, sprawling warehouse type shop. And I felt so uneasy about it. They just shouldn’t have been there. And I can really only come up with two reasons why:

1. People don’t shop for coffins at second hand shops. Why not sell them on to somewhere relevant, so that people who might be struggling financially can purchase them for their loved one. Or used for someone who has no family, no people, nobody who would be there to do these after things for them. I saw a notice at a police station once, with a list of funeral homes that will take care of “homeless” funerals. Send them there. Don’t just pop them near the front door of your shop for shock value.

2. People don’t want to be reminded that they are going to die when they are checking out cheap furniture. Me? I can be pretty morbid, but to be honest, I do not want to look at coffins while I am shopping. They send me back to losing people. My Mum. Nan. Grandad. Friends. People who matter.

And it’s back to that word again, matter.

These three “After Life Storage Boxes” sent me into a tailspin that ended with me getting cross with ratchet straps and giving the dogs way too many treats. Because I want those people back. Those people who were in those boxes. And seeing them at some second hand store at a discounted price? It felt like it made that association – those matterings – worthless. It put a price on memory. And people who have seen death. Felt the sting. The ache. These people know there is no price.

I took photos of them. I was going to post them as part of the blog.

But I just can’t.

Because I want to focus on the mattering.

Not the price tags attached.

What do you think. Am I being overly sensitive? Would you buy a second hand coffin?


2 responses »

    • It was really disturbing. I kind of hoped writing about it would get it out of my head. It hasn’t. Someone said they’d seen them there about 6 weeks ago, so they aren’t selling. Funny that.


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