It’s strange how memory works. Even when you’re 7.
We sat around the table, eating frozen pizza. The phone rang and my father answered it.
“WHAT?” his answer still echoes in my memory, louder then anything else in the house.
He slammed the phone down, urgency in his voice.
“Danny just died.”
My uncle hadn’t been expected to die.
Chaos. We covered our pizza with napkins. Jumped into the van. Daddy sped away from the house, my mother worried about his speed and the police.
We arrived at the hospital. My parents disappeared. My sister and I stayed in a room with family friends. Miss Stacey let me chatter to her for hours. She looked so sad.
They couldn’t get my uncle on the phone. They kept trying. No one could find him. Until they did.
He arrived at the hospital, went back to the room where his brother lay, and his grief seemed to break open a fresh layer all around me. Anguish and grief swirled around. My grandparents, my parents, my aunts, uncles, cousins…
We finally left the hospital. Everyone needed food. We went to Denny’s. The yellow glow of the letters signified grief and death for years afterword. I didn’t understand why we even went; I barely understood how to picture the world without Uncle Danny in it. How could I no longer have four living uncles? Shouldn’t I be grown up first?
We didn’t go to bed until the wee hours of the morning. I felt sure I had never been up so late. I lay in bed, trying to understand how the world had changed. Like it had when Granddad died four years earlier. I couldn’t, and I fell asleep still trying to understand. Knowing a part of the world would forever remain empty without them both.
To the KING be all the glory!