My two brothers head across the street to visit our favorite neighbor who taught us how to play the piano, babysat us several summers & other occasions & got together to chat.
My older brother brings a song to play for her. We know she is gradually becoming sicker & will soon pass.Therefore, we want to spend as much time with her as possible. She is getting weaker & weaker.
But, I don’t want to talk about it. I can’t. I’m unable to utter those words because of the pain I feel.
She answers the door slowly. We all hug her and walk toward the other room to talk & listen to the song. She is a piano player & singer. She is kind & loving. We all love her, including my parents.
The song “Take me home tonight” plays throughout the room. My older brother says, Doesn’t this sound like you singing, Mrs. Barnes? I don’t believe it sounds like her, but my brothers are convinced, so I agree. As they sing along, I think about her. I look at her fragile, frail body & know that she will soon die. I know what will happen & how I’ll feel. However, at the same time, I block that out. I avoid it. That was the LAST time my older brother saw her, ever.
My younger brother & I saw her a week after that in her room. I give her a picture of my then boyfriend. She was sort of a psychic & specifically told me that he would tell me he loves me. That’s the “he” I speak of in my other entries. I guess I still believe he’ll say it. I mean more than a friend.
Some weeks after this, she passed. I remember the call from her daughter, who we’ve met several times. I hide my feelings because I didn’t want to upset anyone. Her viewing was the worst. I felt disgusting, terrible, helpless & gross. My older brother was on a trip & didn’t get to properly say goodbye.
During the drive to the church, I prepared myself. I knew I couldn’t cry. I wasn’t able to “lose it.” I had to be strong. I couldn’t look weak by shedding tears. When my younger brother, parents & I walked in, we were greeted by her daughter, who hugged my mother. There were pictures on this screen of her & her family. I swear, if there was a picture of her & I, I would have “lost” it. Literally.
I kept it together very well. As we visited her casket, my younger brother kept staring at me. I didn’t want ANY looks, glances stares of any kind. NOTHING. I was NOT in the mood. I appeared fine, but on the inside, I was screaming. I kept cool. We stayed for about 20 minutes. Honestly, I couldn’t handle that situation anymore. I cracked a few jokes to lighten the mood.
When I got home, I sat in my room & cried. No one knew it.Later when we ate dinner, I knew I had to keep it together.
A week later when my brother came home, he wanted to talk about it. I couldn’t. I just brushed it off. I wasn’t ready though. Nope. Sorry. Can’t. Won’t. Don’t.
But, her & I were supposed to bake those cookies. She was supposed to come to my wedding. She was supposed to tell me how beautiful & grown up I look. She was supposed to be present when I wrote my first book.
This was 2-3 years ago, but when I heard Take me home tonight, I immediately thought of her. I choked up as I listened to the song & thought of THAT moment. You have no clue how much I loved her. She was so precious.
Mrs. Barnes, I love you & think of you often. RIP, my dear.
Mrs. Barnes: What a great woman we had!