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I hate funerals.
The family is in one room, crying their eyes out, while the guests who are mourning still laugh and chat with their old friends they haven’t seen in a few years out in the hallways.
So the death of my parents brought people closer.
That’s not what should have happened.
It was a Friday night, just a few minutes before the big fiesta. My parents’ surprise anniversary party!
Us kids (all 5 of us!) just about to set out the cake and ice cream when the phone rang its dreary melody across the house.
I ran over, and, still laughing from all the fun we were having, I asked “Hello?”
“Is this the Horter residence?” A solemn voice replied.
I gained composure. “Yes…this is. Is there a problem?”
The man on the other end of the phone exhaled deeply, and said, “May I speak to an adult?”
“There is no adult here, yet sir. But I’m the oldest child here. I’m 16,” I swallowed the stress that gathered in my throat.
“Are you the daughter of a Susan and Chaz Horter?” My body went numb.
“Yes…” I motioned the kids in the other room to be silent.
“I’m afraid your parents have gotten in a vehicle accident. A semi-truck hit them head on, and, oh I’m sorry, they didn’t quite make it.” My breath stopped, pulse went crazy, and I grabbed the nearby countertop to hold me up.
“Your aunt is here and is on her way to come pick you kids up,” he hung up the phone.
I crumpled to the floor, crying. My 14 year old brother, Brad, came to me with fear in his eyes.
“Shell, what happened? Shh, be quiet now. Tell me what happened.” I told him to get the kids and bring them in the kitchen. He did so, and all the kids were now by my side. I held three year old Jayli on my lap.
“Umm, I don’t know how to say this. But mom and dad got in a pretty bad car accident tonight. Aunt Jenny is coming to pick us up.”
Brad questioned, “Are they…”
I nodded my head.
We were a group of six laying mangled on our kitchen floor, crying and shouting. Aunt Jenny walked inside (she has a key to the house). She was in tears when she saw us. She gathered us up and we went to her car.
I don’t really remember the next few days. My memory got blurred from all the crying I saw. At the visitation, people were crying. At the funeral, people were sobbing.
But after the funeral, people went downstairs to the luncheon and were catching up and laughing.
How could they do this to me? How could they possibly be having a good time? My parents were dead. I had no mother to take me shopping. I had no father to walk me down the isle.
But these people didn’t care.
These people were heartless.