*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.
Eyeglasses are expensive, especially if you don't have a health insurance plan that covers them. So when a woman's sister died, she was livid to see that her sister had been buried with a brand new pair of eyeglasses.
"The average cost of glasses without insurance is $242, according to statistics from VSP. That’s for frames only. For basic, single lenses, it’s $113. That means the total will run you on average about $351 for a complete pair of glasses if you don’t have vision insurance."
A dear family friend passed away after a prolonged illness. No one felt surprised by her passing since she had suffered for so long from an incurable medical condition. We expected her to pass away; we just didn't know when. I guess they could say the same for any of us.
The deceased woman's widower buried her wearing her new eyeglasses. His decision infuriated his sister-in-law because she said it was a waste of a perfectly good pair of eyeglasses.
"What is wrong with you?" the woman shouted at her brother-in-law after the funeral. "She didn't even get to use those glasses! Why would you bury her with them?"
In fact, the widower's sister-in-law said she felt slighted because no one had asked her whether she might like to have her deceased sister's eyeglasses for herself. If she had wanted a souvenir or memento of her sister, there were plenty of other objects from which to choose, but she didn't want a souvenir or memento.
She wanted those eyeglasses.
I wasn't related to this family by blood, but I was close to them through marriage. Thanks to this association, I saw them often, including the grieving widower and his furious sister-in-law. The woman was tireless in her complaints about that perfectly serviceable pair of glasses interred in her sister's burial plot.
"Do you know how expensive eyeglasses are?" she often asked. "They're very expensive. I ought to know because I need to buy a new pair, and I could have used them myself. Do you know who had a brand new pair of eyeglasses? That's right. My sister had a brand new pair of eyeglasses, and do you know what happened to them?"
The woman was never the same after learning her sister had worn a brand new pair of eyeglasses to the grave. I heard her complaint multiple times over the course of several years. It was always the same, with no variation. "Why did they have to waste a perfectly good pair of eyeglasses? I would have been more than happy to use them myself." And so on.
The woman's sister had died, but she was more concerned with the state of her sister's eyeglasses than she was with her own grieving. It was as if the glasses were more important to her than her sister had been. I began to feel sorry for her, especially when I saw how much her attitude bothered her brother-in-law.
The widower had done nothing wrong, but his sister-in-law made him feel as if he had committed some great sin. I don't think she ever forgave him for burying her sister with those glasses. In her mind, it was a waste that could have been avoided if only he had thought to ask her if she wanted them.