I opened my Christmas present. It was a matching bra and panty set. It was green (my favorite color.) My mother smiled proudly thinking she has done well. I look up at my mom completely embarrassed. I shove it back in the gift bag.
Two days later, I am in my car pulling out of the driveway. My mom comes running out with the gift bag that I had "forgotten." "Don't you like them?" she asks. "They're fine." I say. I toss the bag into the backseat thinking to myself how I will never wear them.
That night I call to thank my mom for her gift. I knew I had acted ungrateful. I tried calling, but got no answer. It was December 27. I was back at college and I was packing to go spend the new year with my boyfriend (R. - my now ex-husband). I was lonely...no one was in the dorms during this time of year. So I kept trying to call.
Then I had a knock on my door. "Strange." I thought. "Didn't know anyone else knew I was here."
I walked to my door. My dorm supervisor stood in front of me. I'm sure I must have given her a strange look because she never came to your door unless you were being unruly and loud - I was being neither. She, without hesitation, said, "Dawn, there's been an accident and your mom was killed."
I fell back into my dorm room banging the door against the wall. Everything moved in slow motion. I could hear myself screaming, "NOOOOOOooooo!" The room was spinning. I now realize, I was probably very close to fainting, but it just felt as if this was not happening to me; like I was just an outsider watching it.
My dorm supervisor followed me into my room and tried to hug me. I wedged myself in between mine and my roommate's bed and in between sobs yelled,"Don't touch me! I mean it, don't touch me! It's not true. It's not true. I was just there. It's not true."
Shortly thereafter, my roommate called. They had called her first trying to see who they could find that could have been with me when I found out, but no one was there...everyone was home with their families for Christmas. She consoled me as much as she could over the phone and said she would be there in the morning since the roads were snow covered.
Then my aunt called. She said my youngest brother had also been in the car and that he was in critical condition and was currently in surgery. Then she told me that my other two brothers had not been called yet. I took that as my responsibility.
How do you tell the most important people in the world that their/your mother has died? Somehow, I managed to do it and then sat sobbing on the phone with them.
Every time I thought I couldn't cry another tear, a wave of overwhelming sadness would come over me. I called R. and he immediately got on the road coming back from Texas.
My dorm supervisor insisted on sleeping in my room, even though I told her that I would be fine...that I just needed some time alone. When I finally didn't cry for over an hour, she decided that I was "stable" enough.
As soon as I knew she was completely out of earshot, I fell over in convulsions. My whole body shook as I screamed "WHY?!! Why! Why!" repeatedly until my voice was hoarse and my body was worn. I received no answer to help with the realization that I would never talk to my mom again.
It's not a memory that I bring to the forefront of my mind very often.
Yes, her death was sudden and tragic.
But the reason I don't like to think about it is because the last time I was with my mother, the last memory she had of me, I was being an ungrateful B...and that's something I would rather forget.
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