15 May 2009

time since... one year

two intertwined knots in the center of the celtic pattern on her headstone signifying they are forever as one

Ten days and one year ago I had left my friends after exiting the Staten Island Ferry to go wandering through Soho in NYC. The last photo I took was of a policeman on a horse, the click, click, click of the hooves on the cobbles made an unusual sound for New York. I went around the corner and bought some clever earrings from a little design studio and then dropped into a store to buy a pair of purple jeans. As I was purchasing the pants, Darren called, graveness in his voice, and said I needed to be alone. I shouted back - is this about the boys? No. Is it Erica? No. I'll call you right back. Shakily I completed the transaction, went outside, sat on the dirty sidewalk and rang him back. As he told me what had happened... Your mom and dad were working at the new house and a terrible accident occurred while your dad was driving the tractor and your mom was killed... it was as if a time warp happened and I could picture the story unfolding as it took place. He asked me if I could get home. I said yes. He asked if I could give him my sister's number. I couldn't think. He said the number slowly and asked if that was correct. I said yes. At that point, I had stood up. Something intuitive and incredibly strong had taken over my mind and body. I had to get home. He had to be so very frightened for everyone, but he was incredibly calm and gentle as he told my mother's daughters about her death. He was in Salt Lake, Chase was in Nevada, Land was in Logan, I was in New York. I took off running and crying and groaning. Not knowing what direction I was going -- I just knew I had to get home. I ran down into the subway, but then thought a taxi may be better and ran back up to the street. A newstand man came and grabbed me by the shoulders shouting in my face in a thick accent, "What's wrong with you why you crying?" I yelled back there's been an accident, I need to get home my mom is dead. He was panicked and pointed to an intersection where I would have better luck getting a taxi. I ran, again disoriented... uptown, downtown, midtown. I was running in the street yelling for a taxi to stop. Begging, please, please stop. A young women - so kind - tried to help me find a open car. Rush hour. No Luck. She suggested I go back to the subway. I had to ask to be buzzed through the gate, twice. I couldn't figure out which platform to stand on. The trains, the people, it was all a blur; all I could hear was the grief in my heart. I think it was creaking, maybe close to breaking. This was the beginning of my identity as a motherless daughter. Eventually I ended up on the plane. Amidst a rowdy baseball team. A loud young man asked where I was headed. I said to the hospital, there has been an accident. He offered, "I hope it turns out all right". It doesn't look so good. I put on headphones and turned the volume up loud attempting to drown out the questions in my head. I remember Survivor being on the TV... it was Thursday night. I fell into a surreal daze. I can't recall anything else about the airplane. I drove myself to the hospital. Chase did too, he had a similar experience catching a plane to get home from work in Nevada, he had spent so much time with his grandma and grandpa recently helping them with the house. A gift. Grandma loved he and Land unconditionally. What amazing young men I have around me. Land had been sitting in a chair next to my heavily sedated father since early in the evening. Not saying anything but "being there" when my broken bewildered father woke agitated and so so sad. Land was immovable. He stayed there all night, unwilling to leave his grandfather's side. I am in awe. Most times I am not the grown up in this family. I fitfully rested on the hospital floor. Shock.

Still shock 12 months later. We went to the cemetery that morning. Swirling brain again on seeing her name on the headstone. Time is relative. Is that cliche? I don't think so. I cried so incredibly hard. I looked at the pictures and can hardly recognize myself. Darren sat cross-legged in front of the grave, talking to her - she loved him - and he misses her deeply. I hugged my dad and we sobbed together. I thought, this is something he will never get over. How can you? You just find another way to BE in this world. It was a beautiful day...


karengberger said...

My heart goes out to you. You write this experience so deeply and painfully...I hope writing it brings some release of the heaviness of heart. I agree with you: I don't think you ever "get over" something like this; it becomes part of your life, and you live with it, one moment at a time.

I hope, in your own time, that you will be moved to write more about your mother. She must have been a lovely woman. It is a tribute to her, that she is so desperately missed. God bless your aching heart.

Tamara Jacobs said...

i liked seeing the pictures of grandma's new headstone. thanks for posting them. i still miss grandma as much as i did a year ago...i love how you write.
love, tam

Henke Family said...

I am so moved DeAnn. Life is so fragile. It really puts things into perspective. I love what your friend karenberger wrote....She says it so well. I echo her words...God bless your aching heart.
You are an incredible woman with so many talents and such a fun personality! I will never forget spending summers with you....every day a party.

ohleslie said...

I have heard but don't know for myself that you never get over it. Little by little you learn to carry the load.

I think that giving voice to the heartache is part of learning to carry the load. There are new glimpses I see in your writing now after one year (I can't believe it's been a year). The story is fuller yet just as moving as ever. Thank you for writing, for sharing your real self. You are a model to all who have heartache and are afraid to pass through it. You are showing the way.