Finding Home

By: Sarah Accoridino

On December 18, 1997 my mother, a mother of 5 children including myself, was driving home when someone ran a stop sign. I was working at a store in the mall that day. My mom’s boyfriend picked me up from work. He said something had happened. My mom had been in an accident. We drove to the hospital and I expected her to be fine. Maybe some bumps and bruises. I still remember an ambulance pulling in slowly with no lights flashing and no siren. Looking back, it made perfect sense. There was no reason to hurry. She was gone.

In the hospital we waited for what seemed like a long time. Eventually, we were asked to come into a private room. There we were told that she died. I can still see some of my family members falling to the floor crying hysterically. It did not seem real. It was a terrible nightmare that I could not wake up from. The rest of that night was a blur. I made a couple of phone calls then we were sent to my grandparents’ house. She was ripped from our lives with no warning. No chance to say goodbye. It was absolutely horrific.

The only way I can think to describe the way I felt after her death is how a person feels when they have that dream, they are falling. The one where you’re falling and you have no control. There’s this emptiness in your stomach and you start to panic. It’s horrifying. Then you wake up with a jolt and a big feeling of relief because it was just a dream. Only on this day I couldn’t wake up. I just kept falling.

 I never realistically thought that I would have to live without her. I do remember a few years prior that I started telling her I loved her every night before bed because something told me that if anything happened, I would not forgive myself. I knew that I love you needed to be the last thing we said to each other. Even then I never thought it could ever really happen.

 I didn’t realize at the time how special she was. I think it’s something people commonly say after a loved one dies like they owe it to them. Like somehow by dying everyone becomes a hero. But she really was. She was beautiful, kind, giving, and funny. Family was everything to her. I miss her hugs. I miss being silly and dancing around the living room with her. For the first time I realized home is not a place. Home is family and she was the center of ours. And she was gone forever.

Unfortunately, our last conversation involved me arguing with her to buy me a pack of cigarettes. I was going through a very rotten teenage phase. She was angry for good reason. She left me a note on a pizza box. I don’t remember what it said but it’s not important. I know she loved us. Even me, the most difficult.” I don’t dwell on that last memory. I know she forgave me 10 minutes after if not sooner.

 The happy memories of her I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was beyond blessed to have her in my life even for a short time. Some people go through their entire lives never knowing the love and closeness we had. I know in my heart without a doubt that she is up there watching over us and looking forward to being with us again.

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