Digital search directory

I came back home to San Francisco today, and after having lunch at home with my parents, we went to visit Ed at the Columbarium. I found out that my dad had picked a fight with my mom yesterday because he wanted to visit Ed on his birthday, but she refused and insisted that they should wait until today so I could join them. He didn’t think it was right and said Ed should be able to see them on his birthday. It’s the little things my dad does now that make me really sad; it’s like he is trying in his own small ways to try to make things right to make up for all the time when Ed was alive… when things were all wrong.

The Columbarium finally added Ed’s name to the search directory. When I had visited last February, his name still hadn’t been put into the system, and my parents told the director that it should have been added ages ago. Last month, they added in his name.. but instead of reading “Wong, Edward,” it read “Wong, Edwin.” My parents had to fill out a form to get this corrected (apparently because having his death certificate on record with his actual name was not enough).

The prompt says, “Type in the first three letters of the LAST name.” I typed in “WON” and hit “Search.” The results listed many Wongs… and there he was:

Wong, Edward

Born: 8/26/1979 — Died: 7/22/2013

Below this information, the screen shows what hall and floor he is on, as well as the section and niche number. I didn’t realize that there were numbers on each niche.

I stared at this screen for a long time and felt numb. The screen became a bit of a blur as my eyes watered. I couldn’t take my eyes off the Born/Died line. Why does it look so terrible? He was born in 1979 and died in 2013? Why can’t it say…Born: 8/26/1979 — Died: ________. Some of the directories are like this because of the reserved niche spaces. His unfortunately is not reserved; it’s occupied. This is real. His death is real. Even when I don’t want to admit it, he’s really dead and out of my reach. One year and five weeks later, it’s still not completely real to me.


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