It was the darkest of times, the most debilitating of times. It was the age of regret and utter despair as I look back on it now. It was the winter of loneliness, of longing for belonging somewhere, anywhere but here. We had everything and nothing before us, and an omniscient feeling crept upon my spine and shuttered upon my skin, erupting into bumps on the lengths of my legs at the thought of this juxtaposition. People said it was better for her, but I said it was worse. They said she was relieved of pain, yet pain was the only thing I felt. They said she moved on somewhere better, but the only thing better was my life when she was here. It’s irony within itself, layering and layering in a contrast of opinions, yet I feel that mine is more appropriate. How could we possibly say the tragedy of a person is good in perspective? That a loss is a gain? I never understood that aspect of her passing when my mom hung up the phone after talking to the police.
I was sitting on the tall stool at the kitchen table, my small toes failing to touch the floor, reaching but never attaining feeling. My high ponytail caressed my back, knotted and ill-nourished like a weed someone wants to get rid of. My mind raced, yet the only thing I can remember from that moment was tightness. I felt tightness in my stomach, my abdominals crushing my other organs as an inflammatory response to the news. I felt tightness in my fingers and toes, as my bones collapsed into balls by my side and never reopened since. I felt my heart grow smaller, my vessels collapsing on themselves so I could not only not pump blood, but feel it happening. My heart ceased to beat in that moment. It hasn’t beaten since.
Despite my struggle in that moment, my mother was composed. Sure she was upset, her only mom had gone and disappeared into the abyss, her heart was aching too. But her body did not grow tighter. Her heart was still beating, rapid and full. Her fingers and toes were strong with support from her straight and proper stomach. Why did my body twist and convulse in agony while hers stayed normal and erect? She seemed like it didn’t matter, yet took the time to assure me my grandma’s life did. She said her life ended, but it was beginning in the Great Above, if that even existed now. I wasn’t convinced it did. How could a God possibly love me if He put me through the agony of being alone? I disowned the thought of that completely. Alone was all I was in this moment. If I were meant to be happy and fulfilled she was meant to be with me. She was meant to be at my long awaited high school graduation, prom, there when my first child was born, and the thought of her absence tore me apart inside. The train of her life was departing the station and I guess the last stop would be her funeral. I was not ready to get off the train.