TIFU by looking at my uncle’s face at his funeral

So this happened when I was about 13. It was 2am in October when my mom got a call that my uncle had passed away. When I awoke the next morning to my very concerned looking parents sitting on the edge of my bed, I knew someone had died. My mom broke down and told me it was my uncle. I cried but I wasn’t terribly close to him although we were far from strangers. I packed my things and we flew to California and for the next 2 weeks we remained by my distressed grandmother’s side.

When Andy died (name change for obvious reasons) everyone was alerted but many weren’t told how he died until the whole family was together, I was one of those who was left in the dark. When we arrived in California that day we drove to my great grandmothers house and everyone had gathered and there was hushed conversations and hugging and crying. I was very confused because it had now been hours and no one had told me how Andy had passed. My mom and grandma, after much pestering, brought me out back and told me the news. Andy had shot himself out in the bay and his body was discovered in a boat when his truck was reported for over night parking in a public space (I believe that’s how they found him, I’m still a little fuzzy on the details). I didn’t really process this until much later and soon you’ll know why.

While attending Andy’s funeral only immediate family were allowed to see his body, due to the shape he was in and his sustained injuries. That included my Grandmother, Mom, Grandfather, and Me. I think maybe one other person was allowed in but he was kept in a separate room from the rest of the family and covered in sheet. You could only see his arms and hands which were crossed over his chest. Everyone took their time with him and finally we all went to the service. I heard my mother saying she wanted to see what his face looked like after the gunshot but the funeral director told her something along the lines of “I can’t stop you but I truly and honestly hope you don’t look. You want to remember him how he was”. I was in complete shock and I distinctly remember wanting to see him. As a child I needed to see my uncle Andy again and I wanted to see his face.

I had not processed this or thought it through whatsoever so by the time I had excused myself from the service to go to the bathroom and while I was sneaking into the back room I just wanted to see my uncle.

I’m not gonna draw this out. You don’t need to know what was under that sheet. Andy wasn’t there. Just burnt cheeks and a hole on the top of his head. I remember being very calm and putting the sheet back and going to sit back with my mom. I didn’t cry until about a month later in class when someone was joking about suicide for a class project and continued to laugh while saying “There are many ways to commit suicide. There’s hanging, slitting your wrists, shooting yourself” etc. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I lost it. I’ve since seen a therapist for this and I’m a healthy a well adapted adult but this is a tale of caution for everyone out there. When someone you love kills themselves and a funeral director tells you it’s better you remember them the way they are, fucking listen to them. It’s not worth it, trust me.

**TL;DR While attending my uncle’s funeral I looked at his face (it was a closed casket situation/he shot himself). Fucked me up for years.**

**Edit:** poorly worded TL;DR

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