A few things that don’t fade in my memory over time:
The call– “Mom’s gone,” Jeremy’s voice breaking.
Seeing “Mom” on the caller ID later that day when Matt’s mom called. I thought I’d lost my mind.
Every single phone call to her friends and family- to Alton (my stepdad)- to tell them she had died. I had to call the security desk at the Trane plant to track down Alton because Human Resources was closed for the holiday.
Trying to write the obituary. How do you say “she killed herself alone in a hotel room” nicely- is there a book somewhere for how to write an appropriate suicide obituary? Thank you, Robin. I lost track of the time you spent on the phone helping me.
Falling apart in Hobby Lobby looking for pink gingham material to finish the bath towel for Jeremy’s new baby, who would arrive just a few weeks after Mom died. I remember being in such a daze that I couldn’t find the fabric, then sobbing in the bathroom in the back. (We went ahead with the baby shower scheduled just 5 days after her death. This turned out to be one of the choices I’m most proud of. It felt right for our family to be together to look forward to Jeremy and Andrea’s little baby.)
Kiley cleaning my house when I was packing and leaving for Utah. I tell her often, but she’ll never know how such a small thing made that time so much easier.
Hearing the Sheriff tell me we would “need to make arrangements with the funeral home of your choice,” and then that someone would need “pick up her personal belongings.” Mostly just realizing I couldn’t be that person- that never in a million years could I ever see that hotel room- or the body. Thank you, Janae. She and Alton took care of that.
Listening to the fireworks outside the night of July 4th, rocking my Samantha in my rocking chair, just sobbing. I complain about her sleep patterns all the time, but maybe she came that way just to sleep through that moment (and more like it) when I couldn’t put her down. The noise was almost too much to bear. Didn’t the world know my mom just died?
*post edit- This post was written many years ago, but most of these still hold true- especially the fireworks. I still cringe every 4th of July. I think sometimes grief is like PTSD the way that sounds / smells/images can take you back to the moment you were changed forever.