If someone you had never met attended your funeral and saw photos of your life, who might they think you were?
While attending a recent funeral, I witnessed something wonderfully shocking! I had never met the deceased, but she had passed away well into her 80s. There were dozens of children, grandchildren and other relatives ambling around the funeral parlor. I attended in support of an acquaintance; one of her grown children who is friends with my husband.
While the men were chatting and exchanging condolences, I walked around the vast room that had been stuffed to the brim with photos of her life. Baby pictures. Photos of her with her parents. Pictures of her from graduations, babies being born and life swirling around her in the 1950s and 1960s. The hairstyles, clothes and settings always fascinate me, so I was rather enjoying myself (for a funeral) when I came across a set of photos that made me stop dead in my tracks (pun intended).
After being married and having 3 children with her husband, he left her. To support her family, she took to modeling. Topless modeling. There on the mantle at the funeral home were photos of her from the modeling agency demurely holding an umbrella and several other props, all while wearing only cigarette pants, a beehive hairdo and a smile. The photos were tasteful, and a mere handful of the hundreds on display. They definitely stood out and had people smiling.
For once in my life, I think my initial reaction was the appropriate one. Here was a woman who had, after being pregnant and giving birth 3 times, maintained the body of a model. She had found a way to support her children and, I like to think, even given her former husband the proverbial finger. “Oh yeah? You’re going to leave me now? You’ve given me no other option than to share my hot body with the world!”
I can just imaging the rumor mills. The conversations among other housewives. The way women probably tore her down for being shameless. I wonder if she was conflicted about posing, or if she embraced the opportunity with topless abandon. Whatever the case, the story in my mind is that she took care of business and didn’t let his desertion get her down. She was a sassy broad, and I salute her courage and confidence. Her children grew up to be fine people, and they now have great stories to tell about their mother.
I glanced over at her octogenarian body resting peacefully in her rose-draped casket. She was petite and withered version of the woman in the photographs.
Maybe we’d all be smart to have some topless photos taken while we are in our prime. You never know when someone will need photos to put on display at your funeral.