August 5, 2008
Her face was lifeless, her hands were chilled to the bone, and her eyes…closed. Jennifer knew the instant she saw her, she was dead. Her two younger sisters wept in her arm, though she refused to hold them, to embrace the youths that sobbed uncontrollably in her arms.

“Please Jenn,” cried her sister, “We need you!”

Jennifer shook her head as she pushed her sisters away and walked out of the room, her body shuddering from her sobbing. She walked into the corridor of the hospital, her noise filled with a scent that nauseated her, nevertheless, she ignored it. Her back was adjacent to the cold wall as she slid down till she collided with the floor, her knees in her chest.

Her tears cascaded down her cheeks and she could only think of her grandmother’s silk-white hair, hunched back, square spectacles, bone skinny body, and the golden necklace that hung from her neck. The muffling sound of her own sobs filled her ears. Sorrow and regret raced inside her head. She thought how scarce time was, how her grandmother will never be at her graduation, her wedding, thirteenth birthday, twentieth birthday…

A hand gently touched her shoulder. Jennifer cocked her head and looked into the eyes of her crying mother. Her tears filled the crevices and wrinkles in her face, though her eyes were bright red.

Jennifer hated seeing her mother cry. It made it seem like whenever her mother cried, life was even more unbearable to Jennifer. When it was Jennifer who cried, her mother was there to comfort her and be the strong one. It was silent for a while, then she spoke, trying her best to stand tall and help her daughter through this hard time.

“Jenn please, come back-”

“No!” Jennifer bellow, chocking on her own tears. “Grandma’s dead.” she said in a whisper, then added so silently, “Gone forever…” She stood, and walked away, holding herself in her arms. Her gait informed her mother that she wanted nothing more then to be alone, though her mother knew best.

“Jennifer,” Her mother’s voice bounced to and fro as it reached Jennifer’s ears. The echoing of her footsteps stopped as her movement met the same fate. Her mother’s voice came again. “You can’t suffer alone. We are all experiencing the same woe.”

Jennifer looked back at her mother, then fell to the floor in a howl of sobs. Her hands hid her face that was streaming with cold, wet tears that seemed to burn her face like flames of a fire.

“I’m scared mom.” Jennifer bawled. “I don’t know how to react.”

“You can’t face this misery on your lonesome. We are in this together.” Her mother walked to her, and sat with Jennifer on the floor, embracing her child.

Her mother slowly stroked her fingers through Jennifer’s hair as they cried together, embracing one another for support. No words were needed for comfort. Only the presence and love of mother and daughter was enough.

As Jennifer’s mother ran her fingers through her hair, her sisters came and joined them, along with their father. Silence that night seemed interminable, until Jennifer recited the words her mother had spoken to her. She said them as if they were lyrics to a song, the words tumbling out of her mouth just like her tears were tumbling down her face. Her sisters listened to the steady rhythm of her voice, comforting them with warming thoughts:

“You don’t have to suffer alone. You don’t have to suffer….alone.”

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