A year ago yesterday our phone rang at 2:30 in the morning bringing the news the Michele’s mom was in the hospital and not expected to survive the day. By 11:00 pm that evening her mom was dead and, I think, Michele’s depression had started a slide that would ultimately contribute to her own death just four scant months later.
At the time I couldn’t begin to relate to what she was feeling. Losing her mom orphaned her in a way that I am only now starting to glimpse, much less understand. Her father was already dead; having died in an automobile accident the previous October, and she was estranged from her brother, so losing her mom left her without any immediate family. Since learning in February that my own mother was terminally ill I’ve been preparing myself for her death. What I haven’t been prepared for however, is the sharp realization that my father is next. Maybe in a year, maybe in ten years, but he will eventually die and I’ll be without my parents.
I wish I could reach out to Michele and let her know that I finally understand what she was going through and feeling last summer. There were other factors involved in her decision to die; losing both her parents was only a part of the whole. I know it is pointless to wonder “what if” in the aftermath of a death; I can’t help but wonder, though, if there was more I could have done to give her a place to express herself in the weeks following her mom’s death. Were she here today she would tell me not to live in the past as there is no present in it. So I try not to dwell on what might have been.
Still, I am now faced with the same realizations she had following the death of her father and I can’t help but wonder how I’ll deal with this challenge in the days and weeks to come.