The Child in the Coffin

Based on a true story.


1. When she passed away

I vaguely remember the day Agnes was lowered.

Well, the coffin containing the remains of her. I remember wondering what the corpse of an eleven year old looked like; wondered what she looked like, I had not seen her for two years, and now I would never get another chance. Were her arms crossed over the chest, with her fingers folded, like thenurses did to the dead in hospitals? Was she wearing a fine dress and had her hair brushed, perhaps wearing jewelry, or something that had meant something special to her. But most importantly of all: how did she feel when given the final judgement; that she would not live to see her next birtday. Did she even know...
Sobbing, heavily breathing, I dragged my feet, mindlessly following the crowd heading for the grave. Still, it was better than sitting still in the church. Friends and famliy, mother, father and little sister. She did not die unregretted. As we walked down the endless paths between snow covered gravestones, I lost track of time, just staring at my feet as they dragged me ahead with mechanical steps. The tears kept running, and I wanted them to, so i let them drip down my face unrestrained, alongside with the snotI carelessly removed with the sleeve of my jacket. It felt releaving, as if I shook off my guilt. I felt sick to my stomach, and it was only fair. I had been a terrible human being, and I felt worse for not feeling bad enough.
It was in january, a few days after our birthdays. Agnes was a few days younger than me. One of the darkest times a year. When my mom told me she had passed away, I felt little to nothing. It did not seem real, I only remembered the short haired thin girl with the swollen cheeks nervously sitting next to me as I tried to keep the conversation going, my impatience leading to annoyance. My nine year old self could not understand her troubled life, how she felt much closer to me than I did to her.
My dad tried to explain it, but I was stubborn and oblivious to the fact that she needed my friendship.
The coffin was so pure and white, flawlessly painted and decorated with the flowers from those she had left behind. By the priest it was now about to be covered in dirt instead. It was clearly visible when we left. I wanted to stay, but of all the people there, I was the last one to take the liberty of doing it. Her memorial was held shortly after. Her mother came to me. She had always said I looked a lot like Agnes; The same traits, expressions, only she was kinder and more quiet. She told me something, as I cried desperately in her motherly embrace. My attempts of keeping it in only resulted in weird animal-like grunts. Her voice quivered as she tried to comfort me, and I let her, well knowing that she was the one to be comforted. I just didn't know what to say. She told me a story of a young boy, who lost a beloved friend. He was granted the gift of oblivion by a fairy; He would forget all about it, never to face the pain of loss over his love again. But he refused; how could he forget someone he had loved so dearly. Not only would the emptiness be gone, but also the happy memories of the time they spent together. I was too young to understand back then. Or perhaps I understood the wisdom, but I could not appreciate it. It would take me a long time before I realised how astonishingly brave her mother was for taking the death of her daughter with her head held high. She was devastated, but still had the strength to be there for others. Even me, of all people. Mom said they had cried all the tears they could already before she died. God knows if they did.



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