Saturday, November 19, 2005

Memories - Phonecalls in the night

I will never forget the way the ringing phone jolted me out of my sleep that morning. I looked at my clock; it was shortly after 1am. I am unsure now of what day of the week it was, I think it was a Thursday. It was all so long ago. But that ringing phone, I can hear it like it was yesterday. I am not sure how long it took me to answer, probably no more than 4 rings, otherwise my answering machine would have picked up. I must have said hello, even with phone calls in the middle of the night I still answer with a polite, though puzzled hello. On the other end was my friend, and she was sobbing. I asked her what was wrong. What she said, those words, I will never forget.

“There was a car accident… Shirley… dead.”

As those words made their trip from my ear to my sleepy brain, and the processing of that information began, my mom stormed in my room to demand an explanation for the phone call in the middle of the night. As she started to yell “You better tell your friends…” I chucked the phone at her and ran, crying from my room. I did not make it further than a few meters, collapsing in a heap on the floor of the hallway. My mother must have retrieved the phone and spoken with my friend, since her arms were soon around me.

She pulled me onto her lap and there we both sat crying. I am vaguely aware of my father and my siblings emerging from their rooms, of my mother sending them back. I am unsure how long we sat there, me, a teenager, curled on my mothers lap like a child, sobbing, her stroking my hair and sobbing with me. I know why I cried that night, it was for the loss of my best friend, a wonderful and vibrant girl, who could light up the room when she walked in it. Why my mother cried, I don’t know. I think her tears were for the loss of my friend, and for my pain. But I also think she sobbed for my friend’s mother, who had to have been going through the ultimate unthinkable pain of loosing a child. And perhaps she sobbed because she was glad, glad it was not me lying in a morgue that night.

Eventually I went back to my room, and my mom to hers. Though the next morning one could see neither of us had slept. The days that followed, realization that this was no dream, the nightmare of the wake and funeral; it is all a blur of eerily vivid memories entangled together. One thing, though that stood out to me then, and stands out even more for me today, was the day before the funeral. It must have been the most awful day of Shirley’s mother’s life. It was Mother’s Day.

posted by Laura @ 3:26 PM   10 comments