60 hours

January 12, 2011
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37 hours and 19 minutes.
37 hours and 19 minutes it had been since she died.
37 hours and 19 minutes it had been since mom died.
I counted.
I counted every second, minute, hour since it happened.
I didn’t miss a beat.

A phone call.
A phone call started the cycle.
Dad, Quinn, and I were all home.
Mom came into the room where we sat huddled around the television.
She mumbled about going grocery shopping.
Mom didn’t go out on Sundays.
I knew mom didn’t go out on Sundays.
She was overwhelmed by large crowds, busy places.
Not one of us thought to question her though.
Not one of us thought.
It seemed so obvious now.
We seemed so naive.

We sat.
We sat with our eyes glued to the television.
One hour, two, three.
Four hours.
Dad tried her cell phone.
One ring. Voicemail.
He hung up.
Minutes went by.
The phone rang.
It was going to be mom.
It was going to be mom.
I was mistaken though.

My dad answered the phone,
Which dropped to the ground, broken.
White was the colour of his face.
Ghostly, haunted, corpse-like.
Quinn and I watched, waited.
A long time went by.
I hadn’t counted how long.
Dad slumped into the arm chair.
I could see his hands trembling.
I could see his back shaking.
“She’s dead.” He said.

40 hours, 31 minutes.
My mom was dead.
40 hours, 31 minutes.
My mom was dead.

I sat on my bed.
Neon green numbers flashed across my alarm clock.
I watched them.
A semi-circle of friendship enclosed me to that spot.
My friends’ cheeks stung with tears.
Mine lay dry.
They knew what had happened.
The bridge.
The jump.
The fall.
But they didn’t understand it.
I didn’t understand it.

I’m sixteen.
How could she have expected me to understand?
Understand why?
Dad said it was her way out.
Her way out of what though?
Our family?
The life she created with us in it?
Her marriage?
I didn’t understand it.

Every answer left me with guilt.
Left me hating myself.
Left me wishing I was anywhere else,
But inside my own body.
A nightmare.
A nightmare this was.
I’m sixteen.
Is this what being a sixteen year old feels like?

47 hours, 42 minutes.
I sat in the front pew.
I didn’t want to make a speech.
I didn’t want to reminisce.
I had nothing to say.
Nothing to say that words could describe.
A long period of silence.
That would be the closest thing.
I felt nothingness.
Hollow, empty.
49 hours, 12 minutes.
A line of condolences awaited me.
I stood at the front.
I faced them all.
One by one.
One by one they approached.
I could see them, feel them.
But no longer heard what they were saying.
I was counting.

56 hours, 23 minutes.
My extended family kept saying how strong I was.
How strong I was for not crying,
Breaking down.
I was not strong.
I just had nothing to feel.
I died when she jumped.
A death within my body.
The pain was indescribable.
I felt numb.
Distant from my family.
Distant from life itself.
It scared me.

So I counted.
57 hours, 49 minutes.
I counted.
57 hours, 49 minutes.
I counted.
I counted to stay alive.
To be aware that I was still living.
Yet counting gave me a thin path to focus on.
If I didn’t miss a second, my mind had no time to wander.

60 hours.
Tears stained my pale face.
I thought of my mom’s smile, her laugh, her kisses good night.
I lost track of the time.

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