I’ve divided this chapter into 3 parts because it is so long. Here is the first part.
The night before was a rough for my oldest and myself as we came to a crossroads. His social anxiety was causing a rift between us. I wanted him to go to the Homecoming Game, but he became a still statue refusing to move when it was time to leave. For weeks, he had talked about going to the game but since his breakup, he just didn’t feel comfortable because he could have run into HER. Plus, the rain was coming down in buckets.
After a long tense discussion, I then agreed to take him to the 5th quarter which was also known as Hangout in a Church after the football game. When it came time to get in the car to go to the church, he reluctantly got into the car. The air smelled of autumn rain. Darkness filled the sky. The tension between us could not be cut even with a knife. Once we got there, he refused to get out of the car. His anxiety was through the roof.
It was then I made the decision that I needed to call his pediatrician of advice because he might have needed to see someone to talk about his anxiety. After yelling at him, which to be honest doesn’t do any good, we drove back home. Both upset with the circumstances and each other.
During the night, sleep evaded me. I was tossing and turning trying to wrap my head around the events of the evening and how I could help my 16-year-old son. The next morning, I texted my friend for advice. As I vented and took her advice, I kept trying to call my mom. We had a system where I would call once or twice and then she would call me back. Sometimes she was on the phone with one of her friends, so she couldn’t take the call right away. Plus, she screened calls because of scammers.
I dialed her number at least 10 times with no response. Fear crept into my body.
A week earlier, I had called her. “We are having a family day. I’m going to go shopping in the evening. Do you want to go with me?”
“I have a sinus infection,” was her response. “I don’t think I want to expose you to it.”
Later, I called her again just to make sure she didn’t want to go with me or if she wanted me to pick up something for her at the store. She responded with, “No, I don’t need anything. Please don’t come around. I don’t want you to miss school if you get sick.”
What I didn’t realize is that she didn’t want me around for an extremely specific reason. The morning after the fight with my oldest is when I would realize the reason.
After not reaching her, I begged my husband, “Please, go and check on mom!”
“I will after 10 o’clock,” he replied not wanting to get dressed. He didn’t realize the circumstances on why I needed him to do a welfare check for me. Ever since my mom moved over to my town 3 years prior, I feared my mom would die in her apartment alone. I was going to be the one to find her.
“Fine,” I responded as I left to do my Saturday errands. My heart felt heavy in that moment. I needed to call the pediatrician and I couldn’t get a hold of my mom. As I turned onto the main road, I made the brave decision. “I’ll stop and check on her myself. No one else is going to do it for me,” ran through my head.
As I turned into her apartment complex, my heart began to beat a little faster. My breathing almost stopped when I saw her mailbox. My mom was obsessed with two things: the dumpster and her mail. I would constantly hear stories about how people would fill the dumpster and when her mail was dropped off for the day.
Her mailbox was overflowing which was not a good sign.
I put the car into park and quickly opened the car door. Dread hung over me like a cloud. As I climbed the step onto her stoop, I grabbed her mail and attempted to open her door. Fortunately, she had left the door unlocked.
As I entered her apartment, I noticed it was eerily quiet like one of those horror movies. I dropped the mail onto her dresser right inside the door. And began to yell, “Mom, mom, mom!”
Silence greeted my ear.
I turned the corner to go down the minuscule hallway towards her bedroom and bathroom when I found her. She was half dressed as though she had just taken a bath and was getting ready for the day. She laid half in the bathroom and the bedroom as though she had just fallen asleep.
Quickly I retraced my steps. Breathing in the cool autumn air as I exited her apartment.
Once I got into my car, I called 9-11. “What’s your emergency?” the calm operator asked me.
“My mom,” I blubbered as tears escaped my eyes.
She talked me through the whole call. Even though they want you to stay on the line until the police arrive, she allowed me to get off the call so I could call my husband.
In a matter of minutes, the police were there confirming my worst fear. My mom had died alone in the apartment earlier in the week.
To be continued . . .