95 days: a young death

Today was not a day of nothing. It was a day of tragedy.

A young person died 3 days ago. I didn’t know how it happened until today, so I won’t tell you now. I’m always curious how these things happen. It doesn’t matter, because it did. No good reason will make it okay.

I met the young person only once, on one of the important days in his life. I knew his mother for a couple of years. I knew she loved him. Even I loved him, when I saw all the love that his friends and family bestowed upon him. It was a deluge of love and it filled them up. You could see that in his boyish smile.

He was not a famous young person, yet his funeral was epic. The highway was closed to traffic. Highways only close when there are terrorists, and the terrorist called Death had arrived. He had been sitting at his computer when Death came to him and lured him. The night before he died he had laughed. The day after he died he received his school test scores. They were probably exemplary. But he would not know.

His mother was no longer interested. She no longer wanted anything. A part of her died too. His sister did not die, but when she held her mother, she felt the dead part in her arms. Her arms were empty.

Sadness fills up all the minutes in a day. When your eyes open there is a thickness in the room. I looked out our big picture window and saw mist undulating in the wind above the treetops. I couldn’t see the trees through the hoary film. I couldn’t feel pleasure in my cup of steaming tea. There was no warmth in my facecloth. A deep breath did not fill my lungs with fresh air. Old shoes were wilted, no embrace.

The young person’s mother had to put on her make up for her guests. She wore a black dress she’d worn to meetings, cocktail parties, or funerals. This time pulling up the long back zipper was different. There was no promise of music or bright lipstick or flattery. The black crepe hung in folds. Her husband’s face was featureless. She closed her eyes, invited Death to her bed, waited for his reply.

I have 95 days. Will any of them be the last day that I count? The last day that I can see my trees? zip my dress? feel my daughter’s embrace? The day that leaves me empty.

I will not close my eyes. There are no invitations. I have 95 days that another mother did not have. I must live them for us both. Join me.

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