Perhaps the polite way of saying it would be “my mother has passed away” or that she is “gone” or has “departed,” as she has left this world, but those are all just a little bit too toothless and rather than having their gums gnaw on me I would much rather just say it as it is. My mother died in a car accident, or crash really, just last Friday. I normally post on this blog every day, but I have taken this week off for reasons that should be obvious. I want to write about it just a little for my own sake.
My and my little sister, who happened to be having a pool party that day, were still living with her and she had just brought us home pizza a couple hours before it happened. Even when it did happen, we were still not fully aware of it for some time. We were both outside and we heard the sirens, both police and fire, but at that point we did not know anything. Our neighborhood is usually quite quiet and peaceful so the sirens were quite the rare occurrence, but neither of us were inclined to investigate.
It was not until around half an hour later that a police officer showed up at our door and informed us that our mother had been in a terrible accident and was rushed to the emergency room of a hospital in a city a few miles from our home instead of one of the smaller hospitals near our town. We saw a picture of her car flipped over entirely and that is when we knew the matter was very grave. My sister was still hoping for the best, but at that point, something told me that this was not something she would ever recover from. Something about how gray the clouds were despite not raining and how the birds were singing off-key.
We called our grandmother who was already on her way there and she sent our aunt and her husband to pick us from her house and bring us to the hospital. Our aunt was already feeling lightheaded and her husband was wearing a marathon shirt with a running zombie on it. A zombie is a creature in a state between life and death, but much more dead than alive. When we arrived, our aunt told us to be ready as my mom may be covered in tubes, but we were not brought to her room first. Instead we were led to a quiet room with many chairs and the doctor asked us to sit down and gave us white foam cups full of ice water. We all knew at that point and my aunt broke down in tears.
They told us my mom was still alive at the moment but she was in a coma and her injury was a “non-surviving” one and there was nothing they could do to save her and their machines could only keep her going for a few more hours at best. The cup that they gave me broke as my grip tightened enough to drive my fingers through it and my feet became soaked in a cold wetness. They took us to see her after that. They had covered up all the gore as best as they could, but we could still see her arm covered in scraps, her eyes black and bruised, and the tube in her mouth was just a little bit bloodied on the inside.
We talked, cried, said our goodbyes, and joked and laughed when we could. A couple times I thought I even saw her smile, but the smile was in my eyes, not on her face. Eventually they turned the machines off and we saw as her heartbeat came to a stop and she was truly dead. As if life was some cheap movie, the gray skies finally let out the rain just a few minutes after she died and while we drove home it even hailed a little bit. Hail on summer night.
The ride home was somber and at one point even frightening as another car drove on our side of the road, coming straight at us for a few moments before they corrected themselves and returned to their side. It was as if Death was not quite satisfied for a moment and wanted to reap some more but then decided he had already taken enough.
This past week has been quite a painful time. My brother came home from the other side of the country and friends and family from all over have been visiting. My mothers wake was yesterday and we stood there for over three hours as hundreds of people came to pay their respects. Our family, her childhood friends, neighbors, coworkers from her school, school children and their families who had only the best things to say to her and thank her for all the work she had done to help them both professionally as her work as a guidance counselor and just as a friend who always put others before herself and tried to help everybody as best as she was able. There were many tears and smiles remembering her. For a little comic relief, we had my brother’s rather short fiancee who looks almost like family stand between the two of us while our sister was off to the side and so many people who had not seen my sister since she was a baby mistook the fiancee for our sister.
The funeral just happened earlier today and now she is in her grave, dearly missed by many.
I will try to return to my regular schedule of posting once per day, but at this point I am making no promises.