My first graveside floral delivery – alone. I always had assistance before, either from my staff or from the mortuary. This time I arrived before the funeral director and there were not any grounds keepers in sight. With time sensitive deliveries waiting I had no choice but to carry the casket piece - on the large delivery box - by myself. Too late I realized I did not have the upper body strength to lower the box without dumping the arrangement and breaking all the long rose stems. Adding to my anxiety was the disconcerting news one of the funeral directors had fallen into an open grave and dislocated his shoulder just the week before - in this same cemetery.
A cold wind blew in from the north. The sun disappeared behind dark clouds. Trees bent, swayed and moaned. I swore I felt rain. The desire to pick up my pace was tempered only by the fact the grave was still somewhere in front of me. I felt forward with my toe, hoping I would feel some kind of disturbance in the lawn - before I stepped out into thin air. Nothing but grass.
I prayed, "Dear God, please send an angel to assist me!"
The box rose up out of my hands. I looked down at my feet. Solid ground.
The next instant the box swung to the left, revealing one of the care takers. “I saw you from just below the rise and figured you could use some help.”
I could only nod my agreement.
My rescuer laughed. “Sorry to have startled you. I guess I should have announced my presence.”
Another nod from me. My breathing had not yet returned to normal and my heart was still hammering. In retrospect, perhaps I should be more careful how I word my prayers.