I had just put my youngest down for her nap, excited for my two hours of afternoon solace, when there was a knock on my door. Eagerly hoping that one hundred sparkly cheer bows were finally being delivered, I was quite shocked when an officer and a victim service volunteer were on my porch.
I am constantly cracking jokes (my poor husband says it’s like a form of turrets)…so naturally, I had an instant flashback to when an officer came to my house after a cheerleading uniform was reported stolen…thinking, here we go again… but death was the last thing on my mind. Everyone I knew was happy and healthy.
The officer told me my Mom had died and was at the hospital. Angry, hot tears started pouring down my cheeks as the news sank in. I can’t even explain how many thoughts were racing through my head. All I heard was that she was at the hospital, so I had an ounce of hope that she was getting help and saveable…After some blunt questions, I understood that she was in fact gone. My mom’s co-worker had gone to her house that morning when she didn’t show up for work. My Mom had left a note on the front door that said:
“Call 9-1-1. Do not call my daughter, Kelli.”
They called the police, who responded to the scene and went to notify my father. He had left her seven months before and was living with his mistress, but he was still her legal spouse.
It had been seven months since I had spoken with him, so he gave the officer my home address, to come tell me. That one hurt. That he couldn’t tell me himself or even phone me the next day to see how I was doing. I am sure he knew this situation would either be a chance to rebuild our once close father-daughter relationship, or it would close that door forever.
My husband and two friends immediately came to be with me. A friend said it was as if I had, “regressed to the state of a toddler,” for that week.
Most of it is a blur; I only remember feelings and moments of those first two weeks. My husband and friends, had to bathe me, dress me and convince me to drink water. No one would leave me alone; I was hysterical and needed constant supervision. I don’t know that I wouldn’t have hurt myself, had my friends or family not been there at every moment. I avoided my daughters for most of that week.
Time stood absolutely still and I couldn’t understand how I would be able to function again. Happiness, family and those moments that life is about were not in my mind. I didn’t know how I would physically, mentally and emotionally manage to live, after feeling that way for two days. It felt as if I would never be able to eat again and would eventually die of malnourishment and a broken heart.
I had emailed my dad that week about the funeral arrangements. That was our first interaction since the news…He had little regard for how I was doing or the sensitivity of the situation. His words, demands and coldness were more hurtful than I can describe. He came off entitled and as if he was the victim in this situation. Thank goodness he booked himself a Christmas Get-Away… I can’t imagine how stressed out he was and especially with the holidays. I pray that he and his girlfriend came back feeling extra refreshed and ready for a new year.
I know my father, and he thought he was doing a grand gesture paying for my mother’s service. Even if her entire estate wasn’t all going to him, he should have done that for her. But it is, so I hope he and his hooker enjoy their tainted karma money.
Sorry for that one, Grammy, if you are reading this.
Five days after I found out, I had arranged to have a private viewing with my Mother. I read her a letter I had written, prayed and cried with her for 45 minutes. It was something I needed to do. I needed closure and to tell her I forgave her for killing herself. I am still working on that part, but I wanted to have a chance to say it to her.
Everyone’s experience with grief is different. There are many factors that go into it….how close you were with the deceased, the situation around the death, did you have closure, did you watch them suffer? How much experience have you had with death in the past?
But when the death is unnatural AND unexpected…there is just so much more to it.
Not only am I trying to grieve, get back on my feet and feel confident about life without my Mom…I’m trying to forgive her for doing this to us. I know it wasn’t and isn’t about me. But that doesn’t mean I’m not left here to deal with the consequences. Her pain is over, but mine is only starting.