What Doesn’t Kill You?
Suicide seems to run rampant in my family. Spreading itself around like a transmittable disease. I keep hoping to “Cure” my family of it, but it appears to have dug its roots deep.
I remember when my grandfather came into the room where I was sleeping to tell me my mother had died. I had gone to bed early. It was around 9pm and I remember him say “Tachia, Tachia” by the second time he’d said my name I was just beginning to wake up and said “what?” he replied “you’re mother is dead”. I said “okay” and rolled back over to sleep.
|My sister and I in 1981|
I was 14 years old. I remember still trying to sleep and thinking I couldn’t have heard him correctly. As I layed there I heard him on the telephone (one of the old rotary dial phones) making calls and talking to people. As I was still half asleep, I could heard him crying. I thought he was laughing. I remember thinking; why is he telling everyone my mother is dead? Why would he joke about that? Then I heard him blow his nose. I realized in that moment he was crying, not laughing. I sat straight up in bed and felt sick. I continued to sit there listening for a few more minutes and thought how could she be dead? Nothing made any sense.
I got up and went into the kitchen where my grandfather was. I asked him if it was true, was she really dead. He said yes. He then told me she had overdosed on pills and a police officer had come over to tell him. (The fact that she hung herself was
supposed to be a secret for some reason in my family, we didn’t talk about this. So I just pretended I didn’t know the difference) This was when he informed me since I was the oldest child it was my responsibility to make the arrangements. We had to be at the funeral parlor the next morning. I was surprised but said okay.
You see we had had a really tumultuous past couple of days. This was not anything particularly new for us. We often moved out and back into the Mobile home where we lived with my step-dad. So when she had sent me with all our things earlier that day to my grandfather’s and said she would be over later, I figured I would just be bringing it back the following day. That was the typical MO. Instead I went through all the boxes and picked out an outfit I knew she had wanted to wear to a Christmas party several months prior but hadn’t gone to. The next day as we sat at the funeral home I felt so numb and empty. I remember going into this room where they kept all the caskets on display to pick one out. Writing the obituary and finally demanding to see her because my mother couldn’t possibly be dead.
At first I felt very proud that I was given this responsibility for my mother. It was only later that I realized how much I didn’t want to pick a casket out for her.