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I looked up from my computer. It was Trudy, calling for mom. I stood up from my desk, opened the door, crossed the hall that separated my little sister's bedroom from my own and peeked in to see what she wanted.
"Trudy, what are you doing up ?" I asked gently. "It's late, you should be asleep."
I heard her whimper and sniff. Her pink flower night-light was glowing and I saw the tears spilling from her eyes.
I slide into her bed, letting her rest her head against my shoulder. "Baby, what's wrong ?" But I already knew.
She wiped the tears from her cheeks and said "I had a bad dream." Then she started sobbing again.
"Was it the same one ?"
Since mom died, Trudy had had the same nightmare over and over. She would wake up crying and call out for mother. She wouldn't sleep the rest of the night and after a few weeks of this same routine, aunt Lorraine made an appointment to see a shrink. Trudy didn't to go but once I told her that I'd be with her the hole time and that after we would go out for ice-cream, she'd agreed.
The shrink hadn't help, finally about ten sessions later, aunt Lorraine let her stop going. But the dreams never left.
"Can you tell me about it ?" I asked her.
"It -it was dark. A scary face, white... no- gray. And cold, I was so cold."
I handed her a kleenex and pushed her golden locks out of her face. The dark, it was dark when my little sister and I found our mother in the bathtub, her wrists cut open and the water red from her blood. A scary face, gray, mommy's face, her expression. Cold, mom's body was freezing, Trudy and I had left for the weekend to stay with our father. Our parents were divorced for the obvious reason, mom was depressive. Had always been. She said that she was getting better but she wasn't, it was all an act. The pills that should have helped her only made her worse. When we found her body, she had been dead for a while. Maybe she killed herself after sis and I'd left, Friday night. Or she might have done it on Saturday morning. No one will ever know.
I heard dad walking down the hall to Trudy's room. Poor dad, he had to take care of us and work, and cook, and wash laundry, and pay the bills, and clean the house. Aunt Lorraine helped when she could but she had children and a house of her own. Daddy was a mommy and a dad. He didn't have any time to himself anymore. I helped when I could but I had my responsibilities too.
"What's going own in here ?" He said. "Trudy honey, why are you crying ?"
She looked up from my neck and told him about her bad dream. I could see dad's worry lines on his forehead, he was so tiered. He walked into my baby sister's kingdom of stuffed animals and dolls. Sat on the bed and put his arms around us both.
"Nightmares can be scary, I know." He whispered, almost to himself. "And I know how much you miss mommy, but remember, even tough what she did was horrible, she did it because she was lost. She was weak. And she simply couldn't take it anymore. But mommy, also wouldn't want to see you like this. She might have wanted to end her life but she still wants you two to live yours." He sighed. " Mommy will love you forever and she wants you to be happy. To live the life she couldn't live." And with that he gave us a big hug that I guess was his way of giving us his strength.