Oct 15, 1999
I will never forget the day my mother passed away. I can recall that moment as if it were yesterday.
My life changed forever.
There was once a time when I thought life was perfect. After all, my mother and father were high school sweethearts. It seemed like they would be together forever.
Or so I thought.
Sadly, for our family, it was not to be.
Her death was the beginning of a nightmare . . . my nightmare.
Like most children, I did not understand the concept of time. There were many nights when the side effects of my mother’s chemo woke our family. I could hear her coughs and knew she was in pain. She attempted to mask it from us, but there are some things you cannot hide.
Mother developed breast cancer. It runs in her side of the family, and something I must watch for. Breast cancer is not the monster of my nightmares. That monster is my father.
One day, my mother was there, and the next day—I am walking into a big home and facing a large box.
For the longest time, I stood holding my father’s hand while looking at our reflection on the shiny wooden box.
The room began to fill with noise.
Confused, I looked over my shoulder and faced a dark, blue curtain.
“What’s that Daddy?” I asked.
“Everyone is coming to say goodbye.”
“Who’s goin’ away?”
He picked me up.
Inside was my mother, she looked peaceful.
Mommy is sleeping, I thought.
Delighted to see her with color and resting. I turned and whispered into my father’s ear, “Ssshhhh! Mommy is sleeping. Daddy, she’s not sick no more.”
“Sweetie,” he whispered. A jagged breath and wet heat caressed my ear.
Lost for words, I patted his back.
His sobs deepened.
“Oh, Sara. Mommy’s going away, but don’t worry, we’re still a family.”
Young and confused, nothing made sense. My father was crying, my mother was in a box, and people behind a curtain were there to say goodbye. Mother looked good, happy and without pain. How could someone who finally looked peaceful decide to leave?
The curtains opened.
Lost and confused, I searched the room for help.
Father carried me to the first seat and sat me down.
A strange man stood and described how wonderful my mother was. The air, the room, and, well, everything felt wrong.
Mommy is there! Why does he keep saying she is with God? I want my mom! my mind shouted.
I tried to talk but tears and the world consumed me.
Then I saw a man with a collar come up to my father and whispered something in his ear. Moments later, the man closed the lid to the box my mom was in.
Five men and my father picked up mommy’s box and began carrying it out of the room. Angered by strangers carrying that infernal box, I ran in front of their path and tried to stop them.
Before I could say a word, a large, warm hand swallowed mine.
Startled, I tried to scream, but saw into my father’s heartbroken eyes.
“It’ll be alright,” my father assured me.
Thanks to him and his abuse, I live with night terrors, have panic attacks, and suffer from stress-induced grand mal seizures. Over time, I have lost hope, and do not know if I will ever feel normal again.
Closure by Sylvia Stein Copyright 2014
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