“I’m very sorry for your loss.”
Mum just cries harder, louder, and even wetter than before. Big, round tears the likes of which I haven’t seen since I was a child.
The woman in front of us waits patiently. She’s done this before. The desk she sits at seems made for this conversation, its black surface is shiny, the white ceramic mug placed carefully near her left hand has traces of what must be a very expensive lipstick on it.
Because this place is expensive.
Liz was insured, of course, but I don’t think she was ever preparing for a place like this.
“I understand she was your wife?”
In funeral home employee school (though this particular funeral home prefers the term Team Member of the Last Farewell Committee) they must have an entire course on how to make your voice sound just so, just so- just so calm. If I hadn’t been informed at the entrance of the stately building of her humanity (‘All our front of house workers are 100% human’) I would’ve been convinced the tone of voice was fully artificial. Its calmness seemed to work a little on mum, her breath was slowing down, and the tears were a mere trickle now.
“Yes. Yes, she was my wife, my second wife.” Her gaze went guiltily from the woman’s face to mine. “The love of my life.”
The woman opposite us nods understandingly, mum starts crying harder again, and I feel myself wishing for a name plate. When we entered the lush room she had of course introduced herself, unfortunately my mind was coming up with mere blanks at the moment.
The Woman handed mum some tissues, gave me a kind smile and suggested we look through some of the options together by saying:
“I understand this is a trying time, let’s look at some of the options together, shall we?”
Mum, at this point, was fully blubbering, so I felt a certain sense of responsibility. I nodded.
From a drawer in her desk the woman pulled up a large tablet and laid it in front of us. She tapped it in a short sequence and the page which we had briefly looked at at home came up. At home the page had looked intimidating, filled with words such as ‘your choice’, ‘all up to you’, ‘we are just here to help you find what you want’. Here, it blended in with the interior of the room, I had never felt so out of place before. I had never felt so alive before.
“Now, let’s look at some of these packages together, shall we?”
The plural form, which I suppose was used to make us feel more like a team, to make mum and I feel less alone, was starting to annoy me.
“I understand she was quite a modern and progressive woman?”
Mum just sobbed, I nodded.
“Then we won’t look at any of the more traditional packages for now, I think.” She quickly swiped through the pages of the website, the colour scheme started to morph from white, greys and blacks, to muted greens and pastel yellows. “Here we are.” The page in front of us showed a setting sun, surrounded by some old trees, the grass was green and the horizon a blush pink. She tapped on the screen and serene white letters slowly became readable.
“Now, we’ll just listen to the tablet explain two of our greenest packages, please remember that these are just suggestions, and that all packages can be made to specifically fit Eliza and how best to remember her. Please also remember that you won’t have to pick right now, this is an important process that you should give yourself a few days to think about for.” Without giving us much time to respond she clicked on the play button:
Included in this package is the possibility of a web page and/or a phone number that is detailed specifically to the deceased. With Virtual Virality your beloved will still be just a text or quick message away! With the best Personal Touch™ software the replies of your loved one will feel incredibly life-like. Many happy customers report that the texts checking up on them, asking how their day went, funny GIFs and cat videos feel soothing and comforting. Some even say that they sometimes completely forget their loved one ever left!
This package will be installed for either 1, 3, or 5 years, always with the option to renew the package once the initial contract has expired.
“It’s like my Robby never left! She still asks me where I’m off to every single time I leave the house. I love it!” – Waifai
“I’ve had to live without my best friend Ayla for 2 years now, but her updates on her children, often included with pictures, make me feel like I still have her with me.” – Rukya
“If only mum had learned to create text with a little bit more substance than ‘ok.’ or ‘yes.’, this package would have felt even more comforting. As it is I barely miss her at all!” – Kulture
This package is all the rage in Japan, and is now gaining momentum over here! We recycle everything now, why not recycle that which is dearest to us, too? This package is perfect for those who want the most freedom within the last goodbye of their beloved deceased, as any of the options can be chosen separately, or can be combined (some exceptions apply). Those who never just threw away anything during their lifetime wouldn’t want you to throw away their bodies after their passing!
The Body Bag
This wonderful bag, designed by Shuii Makii, made of the softest Heather™ (human leather) can be yours, so you can keep your beloved close to you at all times. Who doesn’t wish to be useful, even after their passing? The Heather™ can be dyed in any colour you desire, and certain customizations are possible!
“One of the most daunting things, after losing a partner, is often explained to be the idea of having to sleep alone” explains Mari Jopva, “that’s how I developed the Sleeping Beauty body mod, it’s now even cordless!”
Your partner will feel warm to the touch, be soft and malleable, and will have a realistic breathing pattern. You will never have to sleep alone again!
Was your beloved a true recyclomaniac? Then the Final Feast will be the perfect solution to their last recycling problem. Together with their friends and family you can, in a way, enjoy your beloved’s last meal. Our chefs will put together a grand buffet, in which nothing will go to waste.
“So, what do you think?”
I didn’t think mum heard much of anything, as her sobs had gotten uncontrollable after the first soothing sounds of the tablet’s artificial voice had filled the room, so I was surprised when she said:
“I don’t want to eat her, but I, I- I really don’t want to sleep alone.”
By Juul Kruse