It was a Monday evening fifty people crowded the cemetery plot. And the front row all sulked in somber. If it couldn’t get any more cliché, the clouds became greyer and, liquid drops fell from the sky. Dahlia and her mother stood in the front, viewing the body as they said their last goodbye. The hardest part was laying down the final rose and watching the men bring the casket down
Juliana wore glasses to cover her disdain and how puffy they were behind the dark tinted bi- focal’s. She allowed her daughter to wipe the tears from her eyes momentarily. “he was a good man Julie, the community wants you to know that.” Mr. Willy limped over to them to give his regards.
She nodded her head in anticipation of the crowd that was to come. a large black Hurst pulled up and, two young men led Dahlia and Juliana to the back of the limousine. they sat quietly as the driver waited patiently for the people to move out of the way. Dahlia couldn’t bear to look out the window anymore, the sad long faces that were filled with pity for her and her mother. She just wanted to wake up from this nightmare that never seems to end. She nodded off a few times and looked around the car. She looked for him to be sitting beside her and holding her hand. She looked for him to kiss her on the cheek, telling her how much of a smart and sweet girl she was. she gazed at the window one more time and could see him grinning at her in the reflection, welcoming her with opening arms. “Dad.” She cooed.
That night it was hard to sleep, so she grabbed a few sheets from the linen closet to lay in the room with her mother. She walked into the room only to find Juliana holding her father’s jacket. She squeezed it tight, rocking back and forth on the edge of the bed. Her Dad always wore that jacket she bought it for him one Christmas and, no one could get him out of it. the garment reeked of Joop cologne. “His favorite.” Dahlia voiced.
“huh?” Juliana had finally awoken from her trance. she was surprised to see her daughter near her. “I was saying that’s Dad’s favorite Jacket.” silence filled the air once more. The dreary atmosphere became depressing. Dahlia grabbed the sheets she brought in and wrapped them around her mother’s bodice, hugging her and comforting her. The darkness betrayed them, and the evening time was prolonged.
month’s passed by before Dahlia realized she was graduating from the university. She was a great student, but towards the end, grades and accolades didn’t matter to her as much. Dahlia went home every weekend to be with her mother. They watched chick flicks, ordered Chinese on Fridays, and went to the gravesite on Sundays after church. Some would say that’s no way to live a life, but when you are grieving nothing is ever the same again.
It wasn’t long till Juliana hopped out of the widow phase. A year went by, and she noticed how things had gone quite sour in her house. She wanted to get rid of it but just did not know how to tell her daughter.
“dahl, I don’t think your dad want’s us to live here anymore. he would have wanted us to move somewhere bigger. see? he wrote that in his will.” Juliana tried showing the documented letter, but Dahlia brushed it off and walked past her. There she sat on the sofa and sprawled out comfortably.
“look ma, I get that it is hard for you to see this every day. but I think we can keep the house and then you can move in with me.” Dahlia had planned on getting an apartment in the city. She was guaranteed a job after graduation.
" Abby can find us a place, remember she’s in real estate.” she said referring to her cousin. Selling the house would be like she betrayed her father. It would be as if he was never there or never mattered. grief has a funny way of dealing with people. Some people are in complete denial up until the anniversary of the persons death, they won’t even go as far to visit memorials or grave sites. Some stay in their room in the dark to mourn all day and all night. And some take it day by day.
But if they were anything like Dahlia she worked. That’s how she got through it, and she’d never let Juliana forget her father. amidst the men in the world who gained the deadly disease, Courtney; her father fought prostate cancer for the last 2 years of his life. The family knew it was a big deal but believed he would make it because of his pugnacious spirit. Courtney worked hard for his family’s big home, it was Juliana’s dream. they wanted a choir of kids but things happened along the way and Dahlia became their one and only.
" I can’t wake up every morning to the smell of your dad’s cologne or seeing the razor on the bathroom counter every time I walk to the shower. it hurts because I keep thinking he’s gonna walk right back in that door any minute now. But he’s not here. And Dahl this is not healthy. ”
“Mom go to therapy, grief share... anything, but we can’t sell this house.”
Dahlia was so scared to let go, she didn’t hear her mother’s actual concerns. With that she walked out the living area and went outside to catch some fresh air.
tears came down her cheeks as she took her phone out. She scrolled through pictures of their last family gatherings and even read the screenshots of the text message her and her dad exchanged just the day before he passed away. She thought she had time but she was mistaken.
Something had to change, Dahlia didn’t know what or when but if she held on a bit longer than it would happen.
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