The letter. I always read it.
I never open the envelope if it's sealed. That's crossing the boundaries, that's breaking the trusts bestowed in me. A piece of thin, fragrant paper is open game though, right?
The note, the careful fold, it entices me with it's cathartic calling. This is the naughtiest thing that I do, but to be fair I read it out loud to the dead person, so in actuality I am the messenger to the rightful recipient. It's like an addiction.
When a loved one dies, the funeral arranger often suggests that the grieving family members pen a letter to the deceased to put in their coffin. It's a way to help deal with the finality of the death, as well as express the emotions felt and memories treasured. They write these, and then they get sent to me to make sure that they are given to the right dead person before burial or cremation.
The trouble is, even though I have a pretty tough emotional attitude, on the inside I am a hopeless romantic. I can't do shitty romantic movies and predictable tele-dramas, but I go mushy when in reality someone says that they love ME with honesty, truth and conviction. I can't imagine losing someone I love. So, when I read the letters from husbands to their freshly dead wives and vice versa, my heart explodes! This shit is real, the emotions are raw and the sentences strung together with sadness and longing. Sometimes the longing is for things to have been different, sometimes the longing is for old days to be relived again....
Different players, different rules, but always the same sadness.
Don't get me started on letters from kids to their parents. Or parents to their kids. I am sure that my blood freezes around each cell when I refold the letter and put it in the deceased hand, or over their heart in a jacket pocket. All in all, in my neck of the woods no words will fall on deaf ears.