LIFE AFTER LILIES
“Dead is dead,” Dee Adams always used to say. But when Dee becomes a time-traveling dead woman, she discovers her death is only the beginning.
Before she landed on cancer’s hit list Dee was a commitment-challenged artist who wished her designs lived on gallery walls rather than cereal boxes. Also, she wished her best friends, Rae, Mallory, and Cate, didn't have to carry on without her, that her ex fiancée, Ben, hadn’t moved on, and that she’d done more with her life. But for Dee, dead isn’t dead after all: the surprise of attending her own funeral soon turns to shock, as she finds herself lamenting her mother's choice of lilies one moment then traveling time the next.
A hapless bystander to her former life, Dee uncovers devastating secrets she's powerless to change: Cate, confident and kind, has silently endured her husband’s abuse for years; Rae, the pragmatic loner, is hiding a mystery girlfriend and a desperate wish for a baby; Mallory, the selfless mother, lied about the father of her firstborn; and Dee wasn’t the only one who didn’t believe Ben was ‘the one.’ The present Dee left behind is crumbling as well, with a marriage on the rocks, another unwanted pregnancy, and lifelong friendships cracking under the stress of grief. Helpless to fix any of it, a disillusioned Dee is desperate for the end. So she attempts the impossible: she tries to die, again. And it’s in that final moment when she learns the only way past something, is through it.
As Dee’s friends and family start to accept life without her, the present begins healing the past and it’s ultimately Dee’s death that teaches her (and those she loves) the meaning of life.
First 150 words:
Lilies. I wasn’t sure I could forgive my mother for this.
I can’t believe she ordered the damn lilies.
The most unoriginal funeral flower and they were everywhere: on my coffin, in bouquets at each pew and in a giant wreath that encircled a practically life-sized photo of me with a closed-mouth smile. I didn’t remember the photo being taken and as I peered more closely, I had to admit it looked nothing like me. Aside from the crow’s feet that had appeared the day I turned thirty-five. Was that only five years ago? How depressing this was how I would be remembered: two-dimensional and toothless, immortalized in a lily life preserver.
As best as I could figure, I’d been dead about four days. Breast cancer. I’d been disappointed the grim reaper wasn’t arriving thanks to something more exotic, or at least harder to pronounce. Like lieyosarcoma or malignant meningioma.