Time flies until it does not. And today, the past folded into the present with a glance at the calendar. Thirty years is a long time. The pain and shock of that day have settled into a dull ache, mostly unnoticed. I live in a house full of her memories. The hardest part of my tenure here has been how to pack those memories up, and then, what to do with them? What in the world shall I do with her dolls, crocheted blankets, pictures; the wedding dress? The ache is now present with me and tears fill my eyes.
We fell apart after you left us. Thirty years is a long time to live in the weeds. Dad never recovered; Mom still pines for you in the secret recesses of her now dimmed memories. We picked up the pieces over the years and moved on as best we could. There’s a part of me that’ll always go back to that day, a part that always shudders at the expected unexpected phone call. I can’t grind corn for feed without remembering Mom coming out to get Dad and me. We made it to the hospital as fast as we could. They were still working on you, or were they?
We prayed. Oh God, how we prayed. Only to hear two doctors leave the unit saying something about how it was bound to happen sometime. We came in after they’d straightened you up. That strange mixture of grief and relief, knowing that the though the treatment had killed you, you’d been spared a much crueler fate. Cancer doesn’t care who you are…
You were loved by so many people. We all stood under your shadow a bit. Your sister has done so well for herself. You’d be so proud. I’m saddened my girls never got the chance to know you. I’ve decided to neatly leave your physical memories for them to deal with in time. It will be easier for them. I can’t cross that bridge.
I must finish this. The present needs my attention. Like so many other people who have lost people dear to them, especially in an untimely fashion, I can remember the events of thirty years past as though they happened yesterday. How I got home that night to find Lou had already fed the cattle for me. The kindness of so many people, of Rudy bringing bacon from the butcher shop, grabbing Dad by the shoulder, telling him there were no words. There still isn’t, but I’m trying.
Brenda Bourne Stair
Dec. 6, 1965 – Feb. 1, 1988
Rest In Peace