October 12, 2014 started out like a typical Sunday for
my family, church and an afternoon drive to Cary for my son’s basketball
training. I decided to take my daughter along for the ride to spend a little
girl time while we waited.
The drive was peaceful, quiet, maybe a little too
quiet with two teenagers in the car. I guess some days are like that, each of us
lost in our own thoughts. Despite the serenity surrounding me, inside I was
anxious. I was waiting, waiting to face what I feared most in my life.
We dropped Charlie off. Then toured the local shops.
Over subs, we chit-chatted about college, her boyfriend, and life. Basically, your
typical teenage girl stuff. When we finished, we headed out to the car to pick
up my son. Then it happened.
My hands involuntarily reached for my phone as the
blood rushed to my cheeks. Every sound muffled by the sound of my pounding
heart. Slowly and somewhat forcibly I read the text from my Aunt. I scrolled
through the message, “It’s time. You need to call now!”
Summer reached for my hands, as my body switched to
auto-pilot. Avoiding eye contact with her, I dialed the number. After a
few rings, Bill answered. To this day, I do not remember speaking with him, I
only remember the sound of her labored breathing. Eternity passed between us. Everything
became so surreal, like a movie in slow motion. Then I heard a faint voice. At
first, I thought she was talking but it was me speaking to her or at least I thought
it was me. The words sounded like they came from me, but I felt no ownership to
them. They were saying goodbye, while inside I was screaming, trying desperately to
Sometimes, the greatest treasures are found in the
moments of our deepest pain. As we drove home, my two teenagers sang, at the
top of their lungs, with me “She Will Go Down in a Blaze of Glory” by Jon Bon
Jovi, over and over again. Seriously. No lie. It was the sweetest moment of my mother slipping away. Yet, the hour still had not come by the time we got home.
I went straight to my bathroom and emerged myself into
the piping hot water. The humming of the jets drowned out the roar of my
aching heart. Suddenly, silence filled the space of my existence. She was gone.
In her wake, silence.
It has been a over a year since my mother’s passing.
Although life went on, for me it was enveloped in profound silence.
numbed my soul. I went through the motions of doing, but not really living. I
could not write. I tried. I could not sing. I tried. I could not dance. I
tried. I tried to reach for life, but silence held me. I could not let go.
Give sorrow words: The
grief that does not speak. Whisper the o’re-fraught
heart, and bids it break.
But then slowly, gradually the silence that cocooned
me released its hold. Sorrow still grips my heart, for many reasons, but like
a butterfly I will break free.
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