It was early on February 14, 1995 when my brother called with the news.
My son, Walter answered the phone and I could hear him trying to banter with his uncle. That didn’t last long when he came into the bedroom with a grim look on his face.
“Uncle Donnie want to talk to you.”
I thought nothing of this.
Donnie broke the news to me that mom was dead – to which I promptly accused him of lying because I had talked to her just nine hours before. Donnie’s wife had had her baby and mom called to tell me the news.
So for mom to be dead in that span of nine hours seemed unbelievable.
I hung the phone up and told Walter to go get his dad, who was in the barn milking. He must have seen the shock on my face or heard the urgency in my voice because he went with no resistance.
The next thing I remember is lying on the bed with my then husband picking out the dress for me to wear to the funeral. It was a fuchsia dress, the one I wore for the family photos about two years prior. (At the time of the photo session I was caring an embryo in my right tube – unbeknownst to me. Odd how you remember details like that.)
My daughter Amber was very upset. She was 10 and had spent quite a bit of time with her grandmother. Walter was also upset, partly I imagine because grandma was dead and partly because everyone else was upset.
Eric was six and I don’t think he understood. He was upset, but it was because he was going to miss all the candy at the Valentine’s day party at school.
Amber gave him a sharp reprimand. “Grandma’s dead and all you can think about is candy.”
I told her to leave him alone. He was young. Now Eric will often remark that he doesn’t really remember his grandmother.
The day was cold and it was spitting sleet and freezing rain. We piled all the kids in the truck, an hour later stopped at McDonald’s to get them breakfast. Three hours later I was dropped off at the funeral home to help plan the funeral of my mother.
She was 63 and had died in her sleep.