The Casket Climber
“So who’s it gonna be?”
I took a look around the packed church and saw a middle aged woman wearing a pair of black sunglasses.
I nodded in her direction. My money’s on her. Mr. Jones stifled a laugh. “Wrong again, girl.”
We did this at large services fairly often.
The kid was 20 years old and got hit by a stray bullet on his way home from school. This meant the service was large and packed to the brim of what we called casket climbers. You probably chuckled just now, because you know exactly what I’m referencing. You’ve seen them parodied in tons of movies. Someone, usually female, is overcome with grief and attempts to climb into the casket with the body.
As much as I hate to admit it, yes, it does happen in real life. Also, yes, we have a plan in place for when it happens.
I turned to see who Mr. Jones was gesturing at. It was an elderly Black woman, wearing a bright blue Sunday hat.
“Really, her? But she looks so mellow.”
As soon as I’d said it, I was proven wrong.
“WHYYYYYY LAWWWWWDDDDDD!?!?!!?!? WHYYYYYYYYY?”
She was gasping between gut wrenching sobs. She was at the casket now.
She was holding on to the casket, and it was starting to rock.
“Hurry up, girl. It’s coming.” Mr. Jones said.
I sprinted towards the casket and got there just in to steady the casket as she tried to hop inside. I held tightly onto the foot rail to keep it as still as I could without touching the woman.
That was something that I’d learned very early on. When people are thrashing around in the midst of a sorrowful situation, the last thing you want to do is touch them. Not only can it be triggering, but if you try to catch someone who falls over and still gets hurt, it can become a liability for the mortuary.
So, when you see a casket climber gearing up for battle, you hold on to the casket as tightly as you can, and you let the bodies hit the floor.