Tuesday, August 4, 2009

She called us all babe.

Nineteen years ago today my dad woke me up and told me that my mom died in the night. At that moment, one volume of my life closed and a new one opened. The entire day felt unreal. It was like I wasn't me, but I was just watching things happen in my house. People came and left. We went to the dry cleaner and Churchill's like everything was regular. But it wasn't regular and when I had to interact with people, I wanted to scream at them "My mom is dead. Don't you know? My mom is dead!" But I didn't.

She died on a Saturday. My dad said we had to go to church on Sunday even though it would be hard because if we didn't then it would be harder the next week. I suppose he was right. We always sat in the very front row and it seem to me that no one spoke as we walked from the back door of the chapel to the front. A dear friend embraced me and I sobbed in her arms.

After church, we had to go to the funeral home for the viewing. People were there already because it started before I even got there and I was upset because I didn't get a minute alone with my mom before people starting coming. People kept telling me that she was wearing her wedding dress but I knew this couldn't be right because she borrowed her wedding dress and didn't own it. When I approached her, she was wearing all white and the clothing would have looked like a wedding dress to an unknowing observer, however it was sacred temple clothing. She looked very beautiful. I touched her hand. It was cold.

The day was a blur of people and hugs and tears. Finally everyone left and we were alone with her. I took her wedding ring and put in on my finger. I was lonely.

My cousin came home with me and stayed overnight. I was so glad. Sometimes we talked and laughed and sometimes I cried and she held my hand.

Her funeral was nice. I don't remember anything about it except sitting next to Anna and feeling like everyone was watching me. I remember that someone put anti-Mormon literature in the bathrooms. I was so angry I took it and waved it at my dad and cried. How could anyone be so cruel? It was done by a cousin of mine. I had one cousin who's husband wouldn't come into the church building. I guess he though Mormonism was catching. We might grab him and baptize him if he came in.

We had to drive to Lansing for her burial. My dad dedicated her grave.

That first day, I thought that it couldn't get any harder. I was so wrong. Although the pain isn't as new as it was then, nineteen years later I think I miss her more now. On August 4th, there was a rainbow in the sky. Every year after that I have seen a rainbow on that day. Even the year I was in Utah. Even the year that it was beautiful out but a friend gave me a card with a rainbow on the outside. She didn't know about my rainbow thing. When I see a rainbow, I feel like God is saying to me "I took your mom, but I promise it will be worth it." I hope I have enough faith to believe Him.


Emily said...

I love you

Diana said...

that kind of faith is hard. very hard. i promise you that you have it. i see it.

(i'm crying as i type)

Allison said...

So sweet! I will look at rainbows just a little bit differently now.

GramMO said...

Dear Jennifer, I feel heartache for you and joy that the rest of the world is graced by your presence. Thank you for always diving right in to your heart and sharing these memories. No one need wonder why you and Anna are so loving and strong. Your mom and dad have left an wonderfully indelible legacy and you continue to keep their love and memory alive through your writing and being. What a good, faithful, tender daughter you are. Thank you for sharing this.

Teresa Murphy said...

Jennifer - Thanks for sharing your heart. So glad we are friends.
Love, Teresa

Courtney said...

That was very touching, Jen. You made me cry.

Sara said...

I haven't been keeping up on blogs this summer and just checked to see what you've been posting lately... I love this post. You are so strong and wonderful and loving. I hope I can be worthy of my children loving me as you love your parents. Hugs. Happy Sunday.

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