When he entered the funeral home, he was shocked to find Mrs. Henderson sitting alone on a divan, crying with a bottomless hurt usually reserved for young widows and fatherless children. Brian's unexpected death had left many questions unanswered, but one matter not left to question was the fact that he had hated his mother-in-law and she had hated him.
He stopped and watched her, and felt a sympathetic pressure grow within his chest. He had suffered through the holocaust of grief when he lost his father just two years before. He was well aware that how it hit and how one dealt with it could not be explained.
He crossed the room. He bent over and touched her arm, his eyes rimming with tears.
"Mrs. Henderson," he heard his voice crack, "I'm so sorry for your loss."
"Mary..." she replied. The sentence veered off into a spasm of uncontrolled sobbing. She had one hand wrapped in the other, holding it, shaking them, reminding him of the mourners he saw on the evening news, the mothers in Lebanon, Palestine - the cultural wailers.
"I know, I know," he said. "It's hard, but she's going to be okay."
"No," she said. "Mary,..."
"Mary what, Mrs. Henderson?" he asked, inching closer.
She looked up at him, blind and lost in her tears, and he put his hands on her shoulders.
"Mary slammed my finger in the car door!" she cried, raising her hands up to him, her pain pure, honest.
1 August 2012