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It's Not Real (a Funeral for a Friend)

Updated on January 1, 2017
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He wrote for IHPVA magazines and raced these vehicles with his father (who builds them).


Smite my eyes

to 'void the sight.

I keep saying

"It's not real."

But he's there,

ready to be unloaded

from the Reaper's

black mobile.

We pull the bars,

slide him out.

Funny, I think,

he feels so light.

But I keep thinking,

"It's not real."

Six of us hoist him up.

And the march begins.

guests in black

step aside to let us

help him complete

his final journey to

that cold, hard earth

on a pastoral green hill.


"It's not real."

I protest inside my head.

That cancer didn't lick him.

He told me he'd win

and I believed him.

And still, I want to believe.

But he's there,

in the box we carry,

looming closer to

Its finality.

"It's not real!"

I scream inside my head.

"Damnit! It's not real!"


We lay him down

near the mound of earth

and the hole it came from.

The pastor speaks, in remembrance,

"To a brave soul who lost the battle

and is now ready

to join his mother and father

in the hereafter."

Then it's over.

The casket lowers

and, we, the pallbearers

grab our dirt

and be the first

to lay him to rest.

And as I sprinkle that earth

upon the polished box,

I realize:

It's real,

despite my protest.

"It's real."

All too real.


Part of a series

This poem concludes a series a poems and short stories pertaining my friend's passing. This poem is based on that day when his family and friends (especially me) laid him to rest on the green hill overlooking San Pedro, L.A. Harbor and Catalina Island. In many respects, that day, 10 years ago, was a beautiful spring day. The sun was out. A light breeze blew from the north west and the Pacific Ocean outside the breakwaters seem to glisten under an intense blue sky.

It was the type of day one wouldn't expect for a somber event such as a funeral. The day was surreal; a glorious day for a sad and somber event. The poem reflects the feelings I had that day. I felt, at time, it was a dream and that somebody was going to wake me up from it. Even to this day, I have to remind myself that it did happen.

The one glaring reminder of that reality is that my friend is not in peace.

© 2015 Dean Traylor


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    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Dean-I know how you feel when you say it feels surreal. I recently lost a friend to pancreatic cancer. She was only in her 40's and had three young kids. She had so much energy before she got sick and I still can't believe she's gone. I had seen her just months before she was diagnosed. It was fall and she was out with her husband and kids in their boat. You just have to thank God everyday for being healthy. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. They may physically be away from us, but we always carry them in our memories. Blessings and thank you for sharing your poem with us.

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 2 years ago

      Very touching and the thoughts if loved ones we have lost in death.

      But there is confort to know that death is a sleep that man can not awaken , but Jesus and the Heavenly Father who gave us life from the start can return it. Like a candle that loses flame. And relit , so many will return their flame will burn again as written and a promise.

      Re 20:12And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the New World Translation

      New World Translation

      Re 21:4And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

      Heb 6:18in order that through two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to the refuge may have strong encouragement to take firm hold of the hope set before us.