Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thirty Years

Thirty years is a long time, but I remember every detail of that day like a broken Etch a Sketch which can't be erased. I was eight-years-old and just finished tap dance class. About to walk home with my cousins, my uncle came to pick us up. We refused the ride but he insisted. I knew. I knew then she was gone. I entered our apartment to the smell of Rice Crispy Treats wafting from the kitchen full of anguished faces—my aunts, my grandmother and my brother. My brother's eyes confirmed what I already knew as my grandmother told me to change out of my "unitard". I sassed back, "It's called a leotard!," and my aunt hit me and told me to do as I was told. I climbed the stairs to my bedroom, hands shaking. I pulled the string on my ceiling lamp so hard it came crashing down and shattered, just like my world. With a book, I swept the glass under my bed, changed my clothes and told God I hated him. I went back down to the kitchen and my uncle, one I didn't particularly like, told me my mother died. "Don't worry, she's in heaven now. She's an angel watching over you," he said. I wondered why my father wasn't there. I wondered if I'd get to see my mother's body.  I wondered what the hell was going to happen to me?!  My heart ached and I felt abandoned.        
It's hard to believe it was so long ago; the memory is still sharp and painful, and it knocks the wind out of me when I allow my mind to go there.  When I told the kids that my mother died thirty years ago today, Currier asked, "How many days is thirty years?"  Together we figured out it's 10,950 days.  I acknowledged that was a lot of days to miss someone and Rya asked, "You still miss her?"  "Of course I miss her.  I will always miss my mother. It doesn't matter how old you are—when you feel sick or sad you'll always want your mommy."  For me, today is one of those days.    

1 comment:

Karen said...

Beautifully said Colleen. You have such a gift. Seriously, you are hilarious and sensitive. A great combination. You are a wonderful writer. Go for it!