Polaroid Project: Part III

I’ve been avoiding writing this because I wanted to have a more positive mindset than I have had in the last month or so. Today is May 5, 2020, exactly 34 years since my mother died. I’m now one year older than she was at that time. It’s kind of surreal.

In my last post I wrote about the accident, this will be about what followed.

There were a few things that happened, my sister’s best friend lived next door to the house my mother was killed in front of. She had called my sister to ask if my mom was home, after being told she wasn’t, the friend started crying and hung up the phone.

My brother Matt was driving the family station wagon and passed by the accident. He saw the police and all the commotion but didn’t know it was my mother who was involved. When he got home he told my brother Sam about it. Sam, 10 years old at the time, wanted to see what was going on so he walked down the street. He passed by the accident but couldn’t see anything due to the people surrounding the area. He was curious and wanted to go back to look but he got a strong feeling that he should just keep going. He had a basketball with him and decided to head to the school to shoot some hoops. A few minutes later his friend Von Ayala, my best friend Dean’s brother, came by to look for him and told him that he needed to go home.

A few days later there was a viewing and I remember having to stand in the line while people came to show their respects. I didn’t know what it was for and asked my dad if I could go play with my cousins.

I remember my mom’s body lying in the casket and thinking that it was really gross that my grandma kissed her face. I regret not knowing that that was the last time I’d see her. My grandma knew that, she had gone through this same thing six months or so earlier, after her youngest son Charlie, committed suicide.

I don’t remember much about the funeral except that the church was packed. The only other memories I have come from looking at photographs. The church was directly across the street from the school my mother taught at.

Most people take this the wrong way but my dad remarried 3 months later to a family friend. I think my dad didn’t know what to do. He was 42, and had 7 kids to provide for. I can’t say what I’d do in that situation. He loved my mother tremendously.

My mother’s sister, my aunt Allison, died a year or so later. I barely knew her but she looked exactly like my mother in the casket and I couldn’t stop crying. All of the grandkids were supposed to sing a song during the funeral but I couldn’t do it. My grandma asked me why I wasn’t up there and in between sobs I just said “I can’t.”

I’ve been talking to my brother Sam about this lately and he said he had the same reaction. Neither of us cried at my mom’s funeral but the reality of it sunk in by the time my aunt died.

I’m not sure how to end this post. Maybe I’ll just say, don’t drink and drive and treat each other with kindness and respect. Treasure the moments you have on this earth; the more you look for the positive and beautiful things life has to offer, the easier it is to find it.

I have a few more things to do for this project and I don’t know how to write about the little things like trying on my mother’s ballet slippers or accidentally kneeling on her glasses and breaking them. How do I photograph that? I’ll be considering those things.

Thank you for reading. ❤️

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