This I Believe

Katie - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

When I was thirteen years old I had my first experience with death. Its very hard for me to be able to look back into those few years and remember anything. My mind was so shocked and distraught by the death of my mom that it completely blocked out two and a half years of my life. They are just gone. The few moments here and there that I do remember are not things that I like to think about. I remember the night before when I had woken up to my mom’s wails of pain and had rushed out to her bad to calm her. After attempting this for a few moments I woke up my aunt and she told me not to worry about it, that she would take care of it. So I went back to bed. The next morning when I woke up, I walked out to the family room to find everyone surrounding my mothers bed and crying. Her hospice nurse walked up to me and said, “I’m very sorry, but your mother is dying.” I didn’t know what to do, I was thirteen. Gradually over the next fifteen minutes, her breathes the time between breathes got longer and longer, until they just stopped. As much as I was crying out and screaming in my mind to just keeping breathing keep trying, she didn’t. She died on June 20, 2002 at 10:20AM. I will never forget that day.

Right after it happened I was shocked, I couldn’t believe that my mom was actually dead. She couldn’t be, she must be playing a joke on me or something. The first week I would sit in my family room and stare at the garage door and wait for her to come bursting in to make fun of how scared we all were, but she didn’t. The night after she died I got a call from one of my friends Dena, who was my best friend at the time and she was reminding me about her birthday party. I told her about my mom, and she immediately said I should stay home with my family. I stopped her and said it was ok, that I really wanted to come. She was reluctant but agreed and I made plans for my dad to drop me off at her house in a coupe of hours. When I finally got to her house one of the girls at the party pulled me aside and said, “I’m so sorry about your mom, I know exactly how you feel, my hamster died last week.”

I still to this day do not know how I could at thirteen understand exactly what she meant. Hearing a twelve year old girl compare her hamster to my mom seems like such an awful cruel thing to do, but I appreciated it. I believe this girl had taken her greatest pain whether it was losing a hamster or her entire family and was trying to help me realize that I didn’t have to be alone in my suffering, I wasn’t the only one who had suffered a loss. Did that make mine any more or less significant no. Its just different, and when people start realizing that other people get heartbreaks, other people go through looses, then maybe we can all try and do something to try and help each other.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” Mark Twain