I stopped associating people and emotions with material things the day my older sister went through my mom’s closet deciding what to keep and what to throw away. I remember how hard it was to let go of mom’s things for Marcy. She wept as she bagged clothes to give away and separated a shirt or a pant that reminded Marcy of my mom. Did I grab something to keep? I don’t remember. It felt surreal.
Sunrise Funeral Home (Prescott Valley, AZ)
I stood at the entrance of my moms viewing room for a long time. It was an open casket viewing and I could see her face from a distance but I couldn’t bring myself to get closer. I was afraid that she’d sit up and grab me, I never felt so terrified and I was glued to my spot. I can’t remember who convinced me to get closer to say goodbye. I didn’t say anything, just stared. My mothers face looked pale, her lips were blue… she didn’t look real to me. It was hard for me to believe that it was really her.
The man that killed my mom was an old man who I had seen many times before that day. My mom use to take us to the mine quarry where she worked sometimes and like usual, my sisters and I created forts and adventure amongst the the rocks and pallets that surrounded us. At her funeral service I looked at that man in the face, I could see how broken he was by what he had done. I felt bad for him. More so than for my family. It felt like the entire town was packed into the Southern Baptist Church that day. Everyone just cried for what seemed like the duration of the memorial.
I never went back to the church that hosted my mom’s services even though I had been going to there for years. I was tired of hearing that my mom was in a better place and that God needed her in heaven. Even at twelve I couldn’t believe that anyone or anything would need my mother more than my sisters and me.
There was so much I had seen, so many things that I had experienced, and I had so many questions. I didn’t know where to look for answers. For years following my mom’s death it felt as if my family was cursed. Something that began before I was five years old continued even after my mom’s death, affected my siblings and how we each saw each other and the world. To this day we’re trying mend the broken pieces of our childhood.
I think I stopped being a sister after my mom’s death. I didn’t know how to cope with everything going on, the best way I could find was to get away as fast as possible. I never stopped to think how my leaving would change the lives of my younger siblings and their futures. Some crazy things happened in each of our lives. We all had really dark days, but today, things are better than they’ve ever been since my mom’s death. And things are getting better every day.