The phone rang at 6:06 this morning and it was my mother in law calling to tell us that my brother in law died around 5:00 a.m. After hearing the news on the speakerphone, my husband hung up the phone and went to get in the shower.
I stopped him immediately. “Aren’t you going to call your sister?” I couldn’t believe he wasn’t on the phone already.
“Now? I should call her now? Maybe I should wait.”
“Wait? Wait? Wait for what? Her husband just died. How can you be so detached? If it were my sister I would have been there with her.” He sighed at my early morning hysteria and slowly put on his sweatshirt, as if it were a shield, then walked downstairs to make the call. When he came back up he explained that he had talked to her briefly but no plan had been made for the memorial service yet. She seemed in shock. It had happened sooner than she had expected.
I went downstairs to make coffee. All the while I was thinking about Bridget. She never got to see Jim before he died. We tried to schedule the visit but it seemed like were intruding on their privacy and in the end we had to respect that. I did send the card that she made down to him on Saturday so he got it on Monday. I am just happy that I was able to get it to him before he died.
“Mike, you know Bridget is going to be really upset. We are going to have to tell her.”
“Do you want me to do it? I will go up and tell her now before I go to work.” He climbed the steps and then came back down a few minutes later.
“She said she knew that she wasn’t ever going to see him again and then she rolled back over.”
“She was okay?” I was not sure how that could be.
“She went back to sleep.”
“Bye. I will call Kate again later to see when we should go down.” He kissed my cheek and was off to work.
I made the lunches for school and then went upstairs to get everyone up. I walked into Bridget’s room and saw that she was already awake and she had been crying.
“Mommy, what time did he die?”
“He died early this morning.”
“Was he alone when he died?
“I don’t think so.”
“Did he die in his sleep?”
“Yes, I think he did die in his sleep.”
“So he had a peaceful death?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“I don’t have a dress to wear to his funeral.”
“Yes you do, I bought you one.”
“Oh, that is pretty.”
“Can I tell Luke? Daddy shouldn’t have told me that way. He told me and then he just left. You need to stay with someone when you tell them something like that, not just walk away.”
“All right, let’s go get Luke up.” So we walked into Luke’s room to share the news. We sat with him as he digested the information.
“He had a peaceful death,” said the oracle that is my seven year old. And with that we all got up and began what was a very long and sad day for us all.