I look up at the stain glass cross on the wood church wall. The air smelled like stale pancakes. The black dress I’m wearing sticks to my sweaty legs and back.
It’s the middle of July. I’m sitting in the front pew of a church surrounded by my closest family, were all watching the small, dark, closed casket in front of us. My eyes close and I try to imagine I’m anywhere but here, at my youngest brothers funeral. The tears fall out of my closed eyes down my chin and I don’t even bother to wipe them, it’s not that I cant its just that there’s no point in doing anything. My mom and dad are sitting on opposite sides with my other brother and I in the middle. My mother’s eyes are wide open and unblinking, my father’s eyes have gone grey it’s almost impossible to think that they had been a vibrant ocean blue just a week ago.
I turn my focus back to the stain glass, you can see the huge dark cloud outside and almost taste the sorrow in the air. All around me are people crying. People I don’t even know. The church is so full they had had to move chairs outside. My old babysitter is sitting in one corner balling her eyes out, I hadn’t known that my Bubs had meant so much to her.
The priest ends the ceremony and even he is crying. I stand up and run out of the church to throw up. I just want to be alone, it’s not fair how other people’s families get to stay alive, or how other kids get to have parents who were happy. All the thoughts ran through my mind. The accident was still fresh, the blood, the scream, even the ride to the hospital.
I stood outside unable to tell how much time had passed. It wasn’t that cold out yet I felt as tho I would never be warm again, but in all fairness I probably never will be. Soon everyone exits the church and I get into a limo with my close relatives and we drive in silence to the cemetery.
The limo squeaked as we stopped at the huge iron gates protecting the long rows of soulless stones at the cemetery. Everyone started walking to the back left corner on top of the hill where my Sam would be buried beside his paternal grandparents.
I should have felt some sort of comfort that everyone was there trying to support my family in my loss. But my arms have gone numb and I can’t even look at my mother. All I can do is watch the tiny casket slowly go down and finally get swallowed up by the unforgiving Earth.
The next few days were a blur. Everywhere I looked I was surrounded by death. My parents had decided to stay in a hotel for a few days trying to avoid the scene of the accident, which left me and my one living brother alone with our aunt and older cousin. I spent most of my time staring out the window looking into the once familiar field of our farm. Not having the will to do much else.
The days turned to weeks and the weeks turned into months and I still had no hope. Not much had changed after the funeral, my family had became a black hole once filled with laughter and joy but now sorrow and remorse.
Everyday seemed to melt into the next without day purpose until Christmas. My family had never been close, we had never spent a holiday together or had sleepovers at our cousins houses, but I had always been okay with that. The Christmas after Sam died my Dads family had all came to our house to spend it with us, out of pity I assume.
Christmas didn’t even seem real, I wasn’t even excited. Which is pretty sad considering I was only nine at the time, however I still got to have my first and only real family Christmas.
The day before Christmas I sat alone in my room crying for hours. My heart was still broken, we had only spent two Christmas’s with Sam yet I couldn’t remember having one without him. I gazed out my window at the snow thinking of death. All of a sudden I heard a knock at the door and my younger cousin Erin came in and jumped on my bed. I looked down at her as she snuggled into my abdomen.
¨Weesy you have to come play, I already lost a cousin I can’t lose you too. Everyone says your damaged and that’s true, but broken things can still be functional¨ Erin calmly told me. We stared at each other for a minute or two and then she jumped out of bed and ran down stairs as if nothing had happened.
I glanced out the window once again and though about her words. She was a small child and yet she had somehow been excruciatingly accurate. I wasn’t okay, none of us were , but I still had to live. I took a deep breath and walked out the door and down the stairs to play tag with my cousins.