As Kathleen turned back to view the casket, the wind whipped her dark hair loose from the bun at the nape of her neck, giving her a slightly disheveled appearance. Rose reached up to her daughter and gently, lovingly tucked the unruly hair behind Kathleen’s ear.
“There,” the older woman said. “You need to appear the best you can today.”
The daughter did not respond, but the vacant look in her dark brown eyes prompted Rose to heave a heavy sigh.
Kathleen’s cousin, Charley, came up beside her and put his arm around her shoulder. A thin, angular man, Charley was five years older than Kathleen, but his gray hair and full, bushy beard made him appear older than fifty.
She leaned into him, feeling sickened by the cross of loathing she carried for her husband. She eyed the gleaming bronze coffin with unease. Its ornamentation was overdone, just as was everything Scott owned. Simplicity was not a trait of Scott Buckley, even in death. She realized that inside the coffin lay the remains of the man she had been married to for years, his body smashed beyond recognition, his immortal soul released into God’s care, and she was glad for it, glad that she no longer had to feel the pain of his physical presence.
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