I held on tight to my stuffed Nala as me, my Mom, Dad,brother, and Mitchi walked through airport security, I was waiting for Mitchi to say something about me being “too babyish” by holding my stuffy, but he too was holding his favourite, a stuffed Pikachu. After much convincing, Mitchi was coming to Montreal with my family for Alex’s funeral. His Mother thought it would be too much for him, but Mitchi insisted that he wanted to go, he wanted that last goodbye. Alex’s family had left that morning, since my Dad had work we weren’t able to leave until the early evening, and the funeral was the next morning at 10:00 am Montreal time, which would feel like 7:00 am for the rest of us. The evening before we had of course gone to get our dresses and suits;and then I followed my parents over to Alexis’ house. It was of course, a terrible scene, her Mother was sitting on the couch in the living room screaming, and the whole block could hear her. I then escaped into Alex’s room where I slept almost every weekend. I put my nose to her pillow which still smelt like her, and touched her hair on her hairbrush. I tried to tell myself that I would never see her again, but I couldn’t make myself believe it.
Now here I was, sitting beside Mitchi on an airplane, in just a few short hours I would be burying my best friend. Nothing felt real anymore at all. When we finally touched down in Montreal I dutifully hugged my Grandma who kept commenting on how I looked so much more grown up since the last time she saw me, I definitely felt more grown up that was for sure. She then drove my family to her apartment, and we got about three hours of sleep before we had to wake up to go to the funeral, and then sit Shiva at my Aunts house (hers was the biggest), immediately after.
I squirmed outside ofthe Synagogue as my Grandma tried to straighten out my dress, and Mitchi put his arm around me. “I’m glad that if we had to do this, at least we’re going to do it together,” he said and I took his hand and together we walked into the Synagogue. What I saw inside I did not expect at all. There were so many people! All of the pews were full so there was a small crowd assembled in the back standing up! Let me tell you, this was not at all a small Synagogue, and I just stared at everyone with my mouth open. “Your Dad, and Alex’s Dad touched a lot of people lives, her death hurt many, many other people,” explained my Mom sensing my shock and confusion. The first three pews were reserved, and Mitchi,Sean and I took our seats in the second row, the rest of my family in the third. “Chelsea, Mitchi, my two sweethearts,” said Alex’s Mom with tears in her eyes as she turned around from the first row and grabbed our hand. I don’t remember much about the funeral to be quite honest. I remember there was a children’s choir who sang Eli Eli, and there was a slideshow. One of my cousins went up and read the eulogy her Father wrote, then a Rabbi did some sort of sermon about how unfair and tragic it was that a young life was taken. I just sat beside Mitchi, who was weeping very quietly, completely trying to disassociate myself.
When the service was over there were limos outside of the Synagogue, and Alex’s Mom and Dad pushed me, Mitchi, my brother, and Eitan into one. I barely had time to wave goodbye to my parents, and grandma who were to follow along in my Grandma’s car, for the actual burial. I had no idea I was to be riding in a limo, it was one of my dreams to do that one day, Alexis and I had talked about it often, now here I was doing it without her. I wanted to scream as I listened to my brother, and Eitan giggle, and play with all the buttons. I looked over at Mitchi who seemed to be having just as hard a time,which made it easier because at least I wasn’t in any of this alone. The drive to the cemetery was long, maybe half an hour, forty minutes, and by the time we got there I thought I was going to full on pass out. I stood beside my cousin Nicole, and stared at the pile of dirt that was to cover Alexis, beside the coffin that Alexis was in. I watched as her Dad, and a couple of our other cousins lowered it into the ground, and I full on began to hyperventilate.“Chelsea are you okay?” Nicole asked me as I continuously began gasping for breath, with each shovel full of dirt the worse it got. Nicole had to get me away, and Mitchi followed, he was weeping loudly. “Oh my God I couldn’t watch,”he kept saying, “I just couldn’t watch.” The moment I was out of sight of my best friend being buried into the ground I began to be able to breathe again.
Shiva was a lot worse than the funeral. People kept coming inand out of my Aunts house, kissing me or pinching my cheeks telling me howsorry they were. How they remembered how close Alex and I had always been. When they weren’t doing that they were trying to stuff food down my throat because I looked “unwell”, which of course I was. My parents were a lot more understanding, and allowed me to have my space. So whenever I could I would hide either upstairs or in my Aunts basement, and watch movies with Mitchi and my other cousins, but then of course someone would demand to see me and I would have to go upstairs and pretend that I still felt like a human being. Towards the end of Shiva, as it got less busy, Mitchi went out shopping with my Mom,and begged me to go with them, which I refused. I just wanted to stay inside,and I’m pretty sure I didn’t leave my Aunts house, except to go back to sleep at my Grandma’s even once that whole week. It was the longest week of my life,and I felt even weirder when I went home, and realized that all of the hoopla surrounding Alex’s death was dying down. Things were slowly turning back to normal, without Alexis, and that hurt even more than everyone around me being sad.