Unexpected Turn

The night took a turn I didn’t expect. Thank God my friends stayed with me. My extended family left the funeral home. Then my dad and sister said they were going out together for dinner with a group of friends. My brother was going out with his friends.

What? Our family wasn’t staying together for the rest of the night?

For all of the plans that had been determined in the past two days, how had no one thought of what would happen when the visitation ended? Or had they?

How were people considering leaving each other? What was I supposed to do?

I was the last to leave the building with my two friends, Tammy and Allison. We went to New Star Inn for Chinese food and then decided to stop by a house party being hosted by whom I will call, “Nice Guy Whose Party I Nearly Ruined”.

Oh my gosh. Poor Nice Guy. We weren’t really friends but he was part of the greater group of guys I spent time with the previous summer as part of The Pact. We rang the bell and when Poor Nice Guy opened the door, his face could not hide the fact that he knew my mom had died and her visitation was that same day.

He let us in with a Poor Nice Guy smile, and as we walked through the house I left my body again. Heads turning, staring, so many friends that came to the visitation were there at the party. I thought it was weird they were all still in their dress-up-visitation clothes but had lost all concept of time so who knows when I saw them at the funeral home.

I kept moving through the house and made it outside to the back porch. I now knew it was a huge mistake to come. I couldn’t breathe. I felt sorry for bringing sadness to Poor Nice Guy’s party. I wanted my two friends to be able to have some fun after spending a long, hard day with me.

I stood on the porch in a literal daze.

Some of my Orchesis dance friends bounced up, totally unaware of my loss just days prior.

“Oh my gosh, Mod, you look so pretty!”

“Why are you all dressed up?”

I…um… I came from a visitation.

 I looked around, literally gasping for air.

“Oh my God, who died???”

Um… my mom.

 I knew I had to get the hell out of there before I completely fell apart. I raced inside, found my friends, and they drove me home.

They dropped me off in the driveway and I let myself in the front door with my key.

I was the first one home.

The house was totally empty.

The smell of lilies assaulted my nose, stifling my ability to breathe yet again.

It was all too much. I raced through the house, up the stairs, and to the shelter of my bedroom sanctuary.

Allison and Tammy, age 18, and perhaps the greatest examples of what it means to simply be there for a friend.

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