Life had never been too kind to my family.
"...et revertatur pulvis omnes cinis. Amen."
The priest finished his prayer, and the silence drew me out of my thoughts. Quiet tears and sobs could be heard as they finished lowering my father's casket into the ground. I had heard the Latin prayer so many times. Far too many for someone of my age. I attended my first funeral at a mere two weeks old. Obviously, I don't remember it, but my mother would always tell me the story.
"Oh Christine, your grandmother loved you so much. She only held you once, but you could see it in how she looked at you. You were her first grandchild, and she loved you like no one loved anything else. That day, we dressed you in a grey gown. She loved you so much that she made sure to stay alive long enough to hold you, just once." My mother and her mother had been best friends. Inseparable. Even now, seventeen years later, she still tears up at the story. Life was already hard after my grandmother died. Life seemed to be better by the time I was 5. This is when my sister, Charlotte, was born. By the time I was eight, Charlotte had contracted Meningitis and joined my Grandmother in Heaven.
When I was twelve, my mother became pregnant once again, this time with a baby boy that they were going to name Malcolm. However, she had a miscarriage just after entering her second trimester. Death soon tried to claim another when my mother slit her wrists after losing Malcolm. Thankfully, my father had just come home, and mother had to spend 3 months in the hospital while she was getting the help she needed. Since then, it had just been the three of us. Mom, Dad, and me. That was until today.
"Christine?" The warm call of my mother pulled me out of my fantasies. This had been happening more often, but now I had to face reality. My father was gone, buried six feet under. The same as my grandmother, my sister, and my unborn brother. I was alone. Well, almost.
I acknowledged my mother, standing up from the chair I had been seated in and began walking towards her. As we neared the cemetery's exit, I turned once more to see the plot of dirt, now fully covered. I turned to my mother as I felt her soft touch on my back, giving me a reassuring nod as we exited the cemetery.
Once we had climbed into the car, I buckled my seatbelt hearing the engine turn over and cool air from the air conditioning hitting my face as it began to warm up. My mother backed out of the parking lot, heading towards our home. It was odd to even call it that. Yes, we had dealt with our amount of grief in our time, but no matter what life had thrown at us, whether it was death or moving cross-country, I knew that there would always be my mother and father, waiting at home. The other of never being in the same room as my father again felt like a stab to the chest. As we drove past the banks of snow, my mind wandered off into my memories.
"Christine, my little angel. Please don't cry." I was back in the hospital, room 324. By the time my father passed, I had spent so much time there that I could paint a picture. The eggshell white walls that always remained blank. The hospital bed, covered in blank, white sheets, a cream-colored blanket. The only color that spoke out in the room was a blue bear that I had brought my dad from home. He had given it to me when I was younger, but even I could realize that he needed it more than I did. Tuberculosis was a horrible disease. It didn't help that it was an airborne spread disease, which meant that whenever I visited my father, I had to wear a face mask, making me feel even more separated from my slowly fading father. I continued to sit by his bedside while my mother was talking to the doctor. My father's weak, slightly wrinkled hand reached up to my face, wiping away a tear with his own thumb in one swift motion.
"I'm sorry Papa. I'm trying to be optimistic, but it's so hard. I see how you're hurting. I wish there was something I could do to stop it." I sobbed, as a couple more tears escaped from my eyelids.
"Oh sweet Christine, please do not worry. Yes, I may die, but if I do, you will not be alone. You will have your mother."
"But it won't be the same without you…" I quickly interjected.
"I promise you that when I am in Heaven, I will send the angel of music to you, Christine." My father gave me a crooked smile.
"Don't talk like that, Papa! You are not going to die. You need to stay here, with me. With mother! We can't survive without you! You are our lives." I was now convulsively sobbing.
"My time is coming, min lilla ängel. Please, always remember that I love you." Then, without any warning, my father laid back on his bed. At first, I thought he had just grown tired, resting his head back on the bed. My fantasy was quickly crushed as I heard the loud, long beep of the EKG machine. Doctors and nurses ran in, and I was escorted from the room as they attempted to save my father's life. But it was too late. He was gone.
"Christine? What's on your mind?" My mind was brought back into reality once again as I heard my mother speak to me. I noticed that a few tears had rolled down my face. I quickly wiped them away as I remained silent. "Christine. Please talk to me. I know you're hurting. I know things are moving fast. I want to help." My mother chided.
"What? What are you going to do, mother? Dad is dead! There's nothing you can do! Add that on top of the fact that you decide that we need to move back to our hometown, how can you expect me to be feeling?" I gasped at my sudden burst of outrage. It was like I had been taken over by a demon, releasing all of my inner thoughts that I never dare thought to burden my poor mother with. I couldn't believe how selfish I was being. I quickly remembered that he was her husband and she missed him just as much, if not more than I did. An awkward silence resounded throughout the vehicle. I finally spoke up. "I'm sorry. You know I didn't mean it that way. I'm just struggling."
"I understand." She said, with a tone smooth as silk. "We both are. We just need to be there for each other during this difficult time." I smiled at her comment. No matter what, she always knew just what to say.
Hi again! Long-time no see! I've been writing, reworking, rewriting, and doing everything to this story for nearly 4 years now. I'm about 7 chapters deep, but the goal is to update weekly on Thursdays in the early afternoon. I'm really attached to this story now, so I hope you all enjoy it! Feel free to follow and review! They really do mean the world to me! Much Love!