In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory

A Story by Kelsey
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A short story about losing someone I love very much.

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  You always smelled like cinnamon and your skin was softer than silk. Moments spent with you were like being in Paradise. You would wrap me tightly in your arms and tell me that everything was going to be okay. I believed you without giving it a second thought. I trusted you with my mind, body, soul, and heart. You said that you would never leave me. I was so devastated when you did.

   I was watching a movie when I got the call. I was laughing and smiling and munching on popcorn when you had already been dead for hours. I never knew. If I had, I probably would have locked myself up in my room sooner to replay our song over and over. I didn’t want to believe it was true – after all, I had just seen you and spoken with you two days ago. How could you be gone?

I answer the phone with a smile on my face and when he tells me, "TC is dead." I nearly laugh. I ask him to repeat what he’s said because I know I didn’t just hear what I think that I heard. "Thomas. He’s dead."

   My heart stops for what seems like an eternity and then it starts pounding. I can feel my body shaking and my father has paused the movie we’re watching to go make a fresh batch of popcorn. I can smell the buttery popcorn in the microwave. Usually the smell makes me giddy, but now it only makes me nauseous. I feel my grip tighten on the phone as I listen to him explain what happened. I catch only every other word. Car wreck. Tree. Seatbelts. 110 mph. I’m so sorry.   I ask him to call your house, make sure that it’s true. When he calls back his voice is graver than before. Even now I do not cry because there is no evidence. I haven’t seen anything on the news, I haven’t received a visit from a friendly ghost, and I have not seen your name in stone. I refuse to believe it and as long as I don’t you are not really gone.

 

   I only go to school the next day to make sure it’s true. To be absolutely certain that I won’t see you in the halls, laughing and flashing me your mischievous smile, giving me a peace sign as we walk past each other in the hall, throwing your arm around my shoulders as we walk to lunch. When the announcement comes over the intercom during my first class my heart feels like it’s being put through a paper shredder. No, no, no, no.   I pull out the picture that I brought with me and stare at it until the class is over. I can barely make it through the day because I keep having breakdowns in class. I try my hardest to just cry silently so that I won’t attract a lot of attention. People come up to me all day long and hug me, tell me it’ll all be okay, remind me how much you loved me, that it isn’t my fault. I can only nod and force a smile. What else can you do?

 

   I skip out on school the next day. I lie in bed and cry, remember, sleep, have nightmares that make me wake up in a cold sweat and wanting to vomit. I play our song over and over and try to remember the way it felt to be in your arms, your smile, your laugh. I watch movie clips on my laptop over and over again so that I can be sure I won’t forget your voice. I have never felt anything like this before. The only other loved one I’ve lost and been old enough to understand what it meant was a pet cat – all of these feelings are so new to me and it hurts so much more than anything I have ever experienced.

   When the day of the viewing arrives my heart is in my throat. I scribble a note on a spare piece of paper to you and slip it into the pocket of my jacket. Whether you are alive or not, I want you to get this letter. As my father drives me to the church I keep thinking about all the things that went unsaid. Things I never had the chance to say because we grew up so fast and time was gone before I even knew it had come. When we arrive at the church the parking lot is full. As are the other two close by. We park in a fourth parking lot that is half full and walk to the church in the cold. It feels like needles are stabbing into my arms and the wind is blowing my skirt as I try to keep up with my father’s longer strides.

   When we walk in it’s packed. A nurse hands me Kleenex as I come inside. I hadn’t realized that I was already crying. My father has his hand on my shoulder and says something to me, but I barely hear him. I feel him trying to push me forward. My brain says move but my feet stay rooted to the spot. Slowly, one foot lifts up from the ground and I walk up the aisle towards the open casket.

   I recognize your mother, standing beside the coffin with the large American flag draped over it, her body shaking and tears pouring down her face. She looks so fragile and I want to reach out to her and tell her it isn’t real, it’s only a cruel joke. When I finally reach her she has turned and is being helped into a seat on the front row by her ex-husband. I slowly turn my gaze away from her and focus instead on my beautiful boy who now looks as if he is sleeping.

   I notice instantly that your face is slightly swollen. I recognize your lips, the long eyelashes, the soft skin. I want so badly to reach out and touch your cheek, but I don’t think that I can bear to have my last memory of you being cold and dry, looking like a figure in a wax museum. I focus on your eyes and try to remember their warmth. I have almost convinced myself that they will fly open at any moment and you will sit up in the coffin and smile at me. I fooled you, didn’t I?   Your eyes do not open and I feel dizzy. I hold on to the edge of the casket to steady myself and I have to struggle to hold back a sob. I have to fight to tear my eyes away from you to meet your mother’s gaze. I kneel in front of her and hold on tightly to her hands. I feel her eyes watching me and I hear her whispering to me. I look up at her so that I can hear her better. She gives me a weak smile and kisses me all over my face and whispers, "Hey, baby girl. It’s going to be okay. I know you loved him, and you miss him, but it’ll be okay."

 

   "I’m supposed to be comforting you." I’m ashamed at how shaky my voice is when I reply. She only smiles at me and holds my face in her hands. She kisses me on the forehead and I grip her hands tightly in mine – dark chocolate and eggshells. I struggle to my feet and walk on jello-legs to the back of the church. A friend from school scoots over on the pew to allow me to sit next to her. She is shaking and large tears are rolling down her cheeks. She looks paler than normal so I reach over and hug her tightly.

   The rest of the night passes fairly quick. Your mother asks me to come over and visit her sometime so that we can talk about you and I tell her I will. I want to do that more than anything. I briefly think that maybe I can go into your room and it will at least still smell like you. I hug her one last time before we leave for home. I undress and crawl into bed before I remember that I forgot to give you your note.

   On the day of the funeral my stomach is in knots. I cannot deny it now. You’re gone. I also cannot admit it – you’re still in my thoughts and I can still remember so many things we did together and promised each other that we’d do together. I try to remember the happy memories, but even those make me weep. My heart feels like it is being stomped on repeatedly.

   Again, the church is crowded. We have to park a good distance away and walk over and it is even colder than the night of the viewing. People stand in rows holding American flags and I feel like I am somehow alone. I had always worried that you would die out of country, but you died here at home. I feel so stupid because something like this had never even occurred to me. When we enter and are seated they pass out pamphlets that have your picture on them. It proclaims that this day is a Celebration of Life and Love.

   I feel like I am going to faint. I cry silently but I never really stop. Your mother looks even worse than the night of the viewing. They have to carry her back to her chair and nurses are standing by, just in case. I see your little sister and she is still and silent. My heart aches for her. She isn’t crying but you can tell by her eyes that she’s scared and confused. I remind myself why I came as I sit between my close friend and a stranger. I did not come to say goodbye – I came to say see you soon. I listen to the singing and it makes me feel a little better. I start thinking again and plummet back into this dark place in my mind. It is an internal roller coaster the whole time that I am there.

   Now that it has been just over a month since the accident, I still don’t believe it’s real sometimes. It doesn’t feel real. I walk the hallways at school and I look for you. Sometimes I swear that I can smell you close by and then it’s gone. I reread old notes and look at old Christmas presents and Valentine cards and think that I must be in some kind of nightmare. I think of the promise you made me that, once you were mature enough, you would come back to me. Maybe that’s one of the many things that hurts the most.

   I have to take it second by second. I carry your picture with me everywhere and I constantly am watching old movie clips so that I won’t forget your voice or your laugh. I remind myself that you would not want me to dwell on this and you would want me to be happy. I’m trying to move on, but right now I can only take baby steps. I will always love my beautiful boy and, at the very least, no one can take away my memories of you. I will have those for the rest of my life.

© 2008 Kelsey


Author's Note

Kelsey
My friend, Thomas, died in a car accident on the way back from a National Guard meeting. The girl driving lost control of the car due to the speed they were traveling at. She overcorrected the car when it went off the road and sent it into a spin. The car hit a tree and spilt in half. The tree hit her and killed her instantly. The airbag knocked Thomas out of the car and he died from internal bleeding. She was seventeen and he was eighteen. This accident happened on January 13th. I miss him so much. I wrote this for him.

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Featured Review

I often wonder why some are taken so early. You lost someone very close and I know it hurts. In the first paragraph, you take a walk down memory alley, recalling the sweet smells, the affection. You took a strengthening step when you did this. As you go on, I can tell you wish that phone call could have been just a mere joke, instead of the tragedy you heard. You will probably always relate the smell of popcorn to the death. You do well by sharing your senses in this story. I can see you are in denial, a hard fact to face. Your story is very descriptive in the emotions you feel. It is very easy to feel a sense of empathy engulf the reader while reading this. My favorite adjective of the one you lost - is "my beautiful boy". I can only say that at least you have the memories. They will live on. We are supposed to mourn birth and rejoice in death. This life is just a stepping stone to what is to be. He is already there, looking down on you, waiting. You will see him again.

Posted 12 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.



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Reviews

Awwwww! I have to recollect myself, and try to see clear again through my teary eyes.

First of all it is a very good thing that you wrote very detailed about what happened and about your various feelings. Also a good thing I detect in your whole confession is that you nonetheless turn to life, because you know he'll forever be with you ...

Very touching and intense write, one which creeps deep down under one's skin.



Posted 11 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

I often wonder why some are taken so early. You lost someone very close and I know it hurts. In the first paragraph, you take a walk down memory alley, recalling the sweet smells, the affection. You took a strengthening step when you did this. As you go on, I can tell you wish that phone call could have been just a mere joke, instead of the tragedy you heard. You will probably always relate the smell of popcorn to the death. You do well by sharing your senses in this story. I can see you are in denial, a hard fact to face. Your story is very descriptive in the emotions you feel. It is very easy to feel a sense of empathy engulf the reader while reading this. My favorite adjective of the one you lost - is "my beautiful boy". I can only say that at least you have the memories. They will live on. We are supposed to mourn birth and rejoice in death. This life is just a stepping stone to what is to be. He is already there, looking down on you, waiting. You will see him again.

Posted 12 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.


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Added on March 1, 2008

Author

Kelsey
Kelsey

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About
I'm 22-years-old. I am a Christian writer-singer girl who enjoys fried chicken, the color green, and the ability to dance about ridiculously in the rain. I hope you enjoy my writing (new and old!). more..

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