"It's been a long day," I thought as I arrived home from work to my parents house after a double shift at my job, where I consoled upset customers over the wrongdoings of the company I work for. Stress enveloped me, mental exhaustion plagued me like a cloud of mosquitos that wont let up. The only thing I had to look forward to, as I slid the dead bolt open with my ice cold key, was Yuki, her excited squeals as she heard the front door open caused me to let a smile loose from my pursed lips. Forgetting about the day, I picked her up and held her close, relishing in the constant companionship of man's best friend.
As I set her down I realized that the house was dark, most of the lights turned off by whoever had last left the house. I was alone, and thankful for it, as I would enjoy the prospect of time to myself to ponder and relax. I moved to the couch, ignoring the decorations that I had seen so many times before. My mothers careful placement of pictures, cabinets, chairs, vases and other decorations always gave me an unconscious feeling of calm and clarity. I felt at home, and slowly released the woes that I had planned on dumping out on my unsuspecting parents. As I turned on the TV, not really intending to watch it, I thought about how happy I was to have a home such as this one to come home to. How much I appreciated the fact that I had a family that loved me and would do anything to protect me.
While watching a show I wasn't paying attention to, and not really caring about a whatever show was on, I felt a sudden vibration in my pocket, alerting me to an incoming call. It was my sister Taryn, I hadn't talked to her in a solid week or two. I missed her and wanted to see her, it had been 8 months since I last saw her, and guilt for not calling her more welled up inside my chest. I pushed the "answer call" button and heard my sisters familiar high voice.
"Hey Ry!" she said.
"Hey Tar whats up?" I retorted.
"Oh nothin just called to see how you're doing. I haven't heard from you in a while," replied my sister.
As we spoke, we slipped slowly into our old jokes, talking to her always made it feel like we were younger again. Made me remember the days she drove me home from school, the times we would sit on each others bed and talk for hours. I had forgotten how much I loved my sister. As we talked, I realized I no longer cared about my day, about each screaming customer that seemed to make it their first concern to put me down personally, or about the driver that cut me off on the drive home. All I wanted to do was exactly what I was doing. It was bliss, or so I thought.
While I explained to my sister the woes of my day, I heard the distinct sound of the garage door opening as metal grated on metal, signaling the arrival of one or both of my parents. This did not stop the conversation I was having with my sister, yet after 10 minutes of conversation I still hadn't seen hide or tail of my mother or father. However, their absence was short-lived as heard the door leading to the garage open and close, signaling what the news of the night. My mother slowly rounded the corner, and I instantly recognized the look of confusion on her face.
"Hold on a minute," I told my sister, "Whats wrong Mom?"
"Grandma Norma is gone." She replied.
"Gone like we cant find her, or gone as in she died?" was my response.
"She's gone gone." came the dreaded reply.
"Tar, grandma Norma died...I'm gonna have to call you back."
I didn't know what to say to my mother at that point, the look of shock on her face combined with the felling of utter amazement in my mind made my senses slow, as I attempted and failed to comprehend the news I had just received. Grandma is gone.
My comprehension of what was going on was further interrupted by my mothers explanation that "Your father is very upset, he's been at Grandma's house all day trying to work things out with your uncle. When he comes in, just comfort him and don't ask any stupid questions, you know how he gets when you do that."
A few moments passed, as I resumed my attempts at fathoming what was going on, and then my father walked the same path into the house as my mother had just done. Without acknowledging either of us, he sat down at the kitchen table. I had no idea what to say, and no idea how to say nothing. I couldn't imagine the feelings he was experiencing, but that's the experience that follows death, confusion. After a few minutes, something clicked in my dad's head and he began to explain what had happened. He drew it out, suspending my emotions as delicately as a spider hangs its web from a flower, and when he reached the climax, the web came crashing down under the weight of a thousand rain drops.
Grandma was dead, and it was self-inflicted.
Everything up to that moment had been understandable, Grandma always had poor health. The car crash that left one leg an inch and a half shorter than the other had caused her serious pain for the last forty or so years, and left her with a serious limp. It made sense that she would have passed possibly due to some malady related to that accident. No, that wasn't the cause. I couldn't think, speak or move. I listened as my dad drew the picture for me, but refused to believe him, couldn't believe him, and the only thing I could say was "You better call Taryn and tell her too, she will be wondering what's going on."
That was it, I couldn't stand to sit there and hear the words of that conversation hanging from the rafters in my brain. I had to be alone, so I went to my room and picked up the only thing I believed could bandage my open wound, a book. This book that had helped me in so many other occasions, and I knew right where to go, Alma Chapter 40 in the Book of Mormon. This chapter that I had used so many times to help others understand what happens after death, now brought me an inkling of hope, knowing I would see my grandmother again. Although I had this knowledge, it did little to quell the sadness that coursed through my heart. I still was overwhelmed with then news I had received, and laid down to reflect on what had happened.
"It's been a long day," I thought, as my soft wet pillow cradled me to sleep that night.