I was about 3 years old when I saw my first dead person. My mother picked me up from pre-school and we walked over to the church for the funeral.
I had never seen a casket before. I asked my mother what it was. She said there was a man in there. I asked her why was there a man in a box in the church? She told me that he had died. That we were all here to remember him and pray for him.
“Oh,” I said. “Can I play cars?” And so I did.
I had a whole pew to myself. I zoomed my cars from one end of the pew to the other. I crashed them into each other. I ran them off the pew, letting them drop to the linoleum church floor.
I got shushed. A lot. I got stern looks from old ladies in hats. I got winks from old men holding their hats. I got withering glares from my mother.
For some reason we had to be quiet. More quiet than for church, which didn’t make sense to me. He was dead, right? He wasn’t going to wake up? Then why couldn’t I crash my cars?
I decided that death was boring. Mom decided we would leave early. A wise decision.