The Calls, The News, The Tears

March 31, 2011
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The sun was hidden behind dark clouds; it matched the gloomy mood of the day. We gathered around with tears in our eyes placing flowers beside her grave. The secrets had been unveiled to me and the one I though was my role model turned out to be the worst influence I could have. Maybe we could forgive, but we would never forget.
It was a perfect summer day. The clouds had disappeared from sight and only the sun shined down and the blue sky covered the world like a blanket. But when the phone kept ringing time after time I knew something must be wrong. They asked for my mother a couple times, but then he called the one we rarely heard from the one in North Carolina, My uncle. We knew it was serious as we heard him struggling to hold in the tears gasping for air as it was obvious he was crying in grief. Finally my sister ran upstairs and gave my tired mother the phone as she said “Hello” my sister left and came down looking more worried than I have ever seen her. She sat on the couch and simply said “Have we ever gotten this many calls from Mom’s side of the family before in one day”. I kept thinking it must be Nana or Grampy they are the only ones who have not called. But I was in for a shock that travels with me to this day. My mother slowly walked down the stairs, as soon as I saw her face I began to cry as I saw her tear stained skin. What she said was this:

“I don’t know how to tell you this but your cousin Rachel is dead”
The news paralyzes my thoughts and all I can think of is the Christmas cheer that rang through the air and when I sat next to my cousins on the couch. The pictures of her that surround me on these Christmas days make my eyes begin to tear up and I float into the fog of my past. I travelled back and back in time to exactly two years ago, the Christmas of 2008. That day was the last time I heard her voice ringing in y head, the last time I saw her smile, the last time I ever got to say hello and goodbye. The pictures sent me back in time to the gifts that lit up her face and that iPod she listened to and most of all the last meal we ever sat across the table for. I flashed back to reality and what I didn’t know is what hurt me the most as we asked how and my mother replied:
“A drug overdose”. I barely knew the concept. It all seemed so unreal. That day I learned the secrets that were kept from me. I learned that Rachel had not only been sick but she had a terrible addiction to drinking and drugs. It was in that moment that I realized why she had been absent at family parties sometimes and why I always heard the adults whispering to each other about how “she was looking pretty good” or “she seems so tired”. To this day there is an empty gap in my heart where she used to be and now all it holds are the memories I had with her. The tears that rolled down my face that day were too many to count. The days that followed passed slowly and thoughts of her crept through my mind and they still do to this day. Her passing brought us closer as we saw each other at our most vulnerable moments and we struggled to except that she was gone forever. Today we all look at pictures which are the only way to see her face. And it seems impossible that she is really gone and that the images are only small memories from the past. We all wish we could see her again but she is in our hearts and there she will last forever.





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