The moment I stood up I knew there was no going back. Any courage I had felt drained away and was instantly replaced by a myriad of fears. I stared at my feet, willing them to move. Heads began to turn from the front rows, like a wave of dominoes that came crashing towards me. Slowly, I slid past the strangers sitting with me in the last row. That walk to the front of the funeral home was the longest of my life.
The minister motioned to the podium and I found my place behind it. I began to study the wood grain in an attempt to avoid meeting the hard gazes of people I had never met. Silence only fed my fears, so I took a deep breath and looked up. (more…)