Thanks to Nicole (Junior Cert) for letting me share this beautiful, heartbreaking piece of descriptive writing.
The car journey felt like a long dreary 24 hours as my father and I drove up the steep hills, along windy roads and around sharp corners. It was a warm bright sunny day but because the emotions running though me were so gloomy and depressing I didn’t take heed of the sunshine gleaming through the windows, then suddenly hiding itself behind fluffy clouds that floated on the surface of the deep blue sky.
As my father drove our car, with me at his shoulder, we spoke few words, because every time a word was said both of us could find no way to hold it in; could find no way to prevent the wet bitter tears from streaming down our cheeks. He was the only one I could feel close to during that painful time. The only person to take the time to remember and cherish the precious memories that would never leave.
I missed my mother. She always assured me that alll would be okay; that the harsh pain I felt would fade like raw scars fading over time. It all just seemed so unbearable; too hard to comprehend. I was missing my family’s cheery smiles. I longed for the moment when I would see them to share the sorrowful, hurtful, painful feelings that racked my mind.
When we at long last reached our destination, I felt as though my heart rate was a thousand beats per minute. I knew that was impossible but it was racing, racing like a sprinter. I saw my mother for the first time in over a week. She held me so close with her arms wrapped around me, her tears falling onto my pale blue blouse.
I kept it in. I kept it together. But I felt like a tower of Jenga.
I didn’t want to fall apart, like a brick tumbling to the ground, smashing apart on the floor.
From the corner of my eye I spotted my four sisters, my brother and several more family members out front, some on the newly painted fence; others, dazed, sitting on the smooth green grass. They each approached, one by one gave me a friendly hug, like they always did when things were just not going good. I smiled, my first one all day.
My walk up to the house continued. The door was closed. I wondered why? That white door, with a sliver of black running around the outside was never closed, not even on wet days. It was one way you knew that you were always welcome.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my brother-in-law. He held me up as he slowly pressed down on the handle and opened the door. My uncle greeted me, silent at first, tears streaming down his face. He never looked upset; he was never speechless. He always had a warm word to say. He was the funniest man I’d ever met and now here he was standing before me, broken. The few words he finally uttered were “Nicole, you’re here. It’s good to see you“.
Soon after I heard footsteps as the others followed me in. The older ones occupied the seats; the rest stood shoulder to shoulder. I lasted five minutes in there but it felt like hours. I had to get out! I needed fresh air. I needed to see the sunlight, hoping that it would make things brighter.
But it didn’t. Not one bit. My name was called from behind by my sister, who looked pale, standing on the shining steps. “Nicole, come in quick” she said. I ran as fast as my wobbly legs could carry me. The breathing had gotten worse. Weaker now. There wasn’t a word spoken, only sighs every now and again. I approached my mother and she took my hand. She knew I was scared. Everyone was. I didn’t want this moment to come. Nobody did.
It seemed so surreal as time slowed. After an age of standing and waiting my mother whispered “It’ll be ok”. It was what I was waiting for, words of comfort. Finally the horrible moment arrived. I still can hear the words so vividly “She’s gone”. All I could think of was that she wasn’t going to be in any pain anymore. She was going to be a sparkling angel in the sky. Our family stood together, arm in arm, comforting each other as we said our final goodbyes. She was the best aunt. She was the best friend.
How could she be gone?