A few eyebrows were raised when mourners arrived at Lou Coker’s funeral and saw his widow, Sylvia, dressed in a low-cut red dress. They didn’t know what to think until Sylvia told them what to think.
“Lou was always telling me that I had a great body and that I should show it off more. So I thought, what better way to honour Lou’s memory than to wear a beautiful dress in his favourite colour?”
This was met by a chorus of “Awwww, how sweet!” followed by “Did Lou like daisies as well? I see that there are many arrangements of daisies.”
“Oh yes,” Sylvia said to all of her guests who came to pay their respects. “Lou loved daises.”
The funeral service proceeded as funeral services do. A minister read pages from the Bible, hymns were sung, and prayers were said. The only break from tradition was the lack of the eulogy. In its place Sylvia requested that Peter Gabriel’s Solisbury Hill be played. “It was Lou’s favourite song,” Sylvia explained to those who came to the luncheon that followed.
“I’ve never been to a luncheon that served real crab cakes,” one of the mourners said to a fellow mourner.
“Sylvia told me that Lou was big on crab cakes,” the other one told him.
There was no graveside service after the luncheon. “Lou wanted that kept private,” Sylvia told everyone. So after the crab cakes were gone, so were the mourners and Sylvia was left on her own. Strong, resilient, quiet Sylvia, the guests all thought. What the guests didn’t realize was just how quiet Sylvia had been the past thirty-five years.
At no point in their marriage did Lou ever tell Sylvia that she had a great body. He called her fat plenty of times, as well as ugly, stupid and worthless. That’s why she always wore matronly outfits in a size too big, but not after today. From now on, Sylvia will be wearing beautiful clothes, and in Lou’s least favourite colour: red.
The reason why there wasn’t any eulogy? Well, Sylvia’s mother always told her that if you don’t have anything nice to say than don’t say anything at all. Solisbury Hill, the song Sylvia thinks is the greatest “Screw you! I’ll show you all!” song ever written, said everything anyway. And as for the crab cakes? Lou would have much rather have had onion rings, chicken wings, and beer over that high-falutin’ gourmet weird stuff Sylvia likes, but Lou’s no longer around to have a say in what Sylvia does, now is he?
Verbal and emotional abuse don’t leave the bruises that physical abuse does, but they do leave scars of their own. Sylvia’s determined to heal those scars, and she thinks that having a bouquet of her favourite flowers delivered to her house each week will be a good way to start.
Daisies. Beautiful, joyful, ever hopeful daisies.