Chapter 17: Saying Goodbye
A few days later
I had gained custody of Tristan. CPS said it was best. He wouldn’t have to go into care and we could stay together.
Noah had been nothing but helpful and it meant everything.
Today was the funeral.
We listened to the pastor do the reading before he called me up.
“Our mother was something else entirely. She was a friend, a confidant, a gift to everyone that met her. Even through all the pain, she still found compassion and cared for everyone. When she left, she took a piece of something from all of us but she would want us all to be happy and love as much as she did. Mom has always been my support, strength and comfort when times have been tough. I don’t know how I will cope without her. It leaves a massive hole in my life. But I will draw strength from the things she taught me and Tristan. We miss you, mom.”
I went and sat back down and continued to listen to all the eulogies.
Kira and Brett did some beautiful ones that left me in tears.
As they lowered the coffin into the ground, Tristan broke down. He ran off and I started after him but Noah held me back.
“I’ll go.” He ran in the direction Tris went.
I went after Tristan.
I found him by a tree.
He glared at me.
“Sorry, wrong question....” I sat down next to him.
“You know, I never got the whole thing when someone dies and people ask if you’re okay. All you wanna do is punch them when they ask. Of course its not okay.”
“How do you know?” he asked.
“Someone I was close to died. People still ask me if I’m okay.”
“And what’s your answer?”
“Same as always, ‘I’m getting there’ . Or another favourite of mine, ‘I will be’ .”
They were my most used phrases.
“How long has it been?”
“A year.... Look, you’re never going to get over it. She was your mom. She’s one of the most important people in your life. But you still have your sister. And she wont let you go through it alone. And neither will I.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes.
“Thank you.” Tristan said, before standing up.
We walked back to where we left Blake.
Back at the house, Tristan went in the garden.
I turned around to Blake.
“Whatever you said to Tristan. It seems to have helped him.” she smiled.
“He’s a great kid. He just needed reminding that he has people in his corner.”
She nodded and then went upstairs.
Today me and Tristan spent the day together on the couch remembering mom.
Going through photo albums and home videos.
He chose to do this. He’s a lot stronger than I am. I had to leave after the first video.
I got in my car and drove.
I had no idea where I was going, until I ended up at the place that started it all.
My old house in Philly.
There was a family living there.
They looked so happy.
I remember the days when we were happy.
We had a normal family life, until Dad lost his job and started drinking. Within 6 months he had turned from a loving father into the monster we knew him as today.
He started with verbal abuse. It was just little digs here and there towards mom.
I remember the day it became physical.
I’d just got back from school.
I was upstairs doing homework and jumped from the slam of the front door.
Dad was home.
I continued what I was doing until I heard Dad shouting.
I sat at the top of the stairs, looking through the bars.
“What the fuck is this?” he shouted at mom. This was the usual.
When she didn’t answer him, he roughly grabbed her by the arm.
“I SAID, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!” he yelled at the top of his lungs and slapped her, hard.
She fell on the floor and I ran down to help her up.
He stalked towards us and when I looked in his eyes, there was nothing. They were empty.
I knew from that day, my father was gone.