Today my heart is big and sore. . .

Carrie would have been so thrilled to see me in church yesterday.   We left very early to make sure that even with traffic we would make it on time. (I should preface that to say that Jennifer and I are never on time for anything, except maybe supper.)   I haven’t been up that early in a long time and the sunrise was really just breathtaking over the DMV.  I  thank her for that and wonder if she could see it wherever she is now.

Once we headed up north the morning drive was gray and the land was painted with a thick, white fog.   My stomach was so very upset and I have to be completely honest; I totally shit my brains out twice in ten minutes at some random Sheetz right outside of Harrisburg.  I have never been so grateful for baby wipes.

We arrived at Camp Hill three hours early and decided to drive down to Enola where she lived.    You see, I didn’t know her address because we’ve been out of ‘touch’ for some time, just the random Facebook messages and promises to get together.    This is a very bitter pill to swallow for me, painful beyond belief, but that’s a totally different post.   On our way to rte. 11 we got stuck at a train stop – we were there for 45 minutes as the longest train in the world (I swear) rolled through.  All the other cars in line behind us balled out, it was just us, a truck that had a sticker that said ‘meat wagon’ on it and an ambulance that hung in there.   During the time we amused ourselves with the good and bad graffiti on the side of the train, groaned when the boxcars became miles and miles of flat cars and contemplated peeing behind a ledge over the hill.   Once the bar finally raised we thought we would find somewhere to go and relive ourselves.

The river looked gorgeous with the fog rolling over it.   Such pretty little islands with cool, gnarly trees.  The houses were cute and tiny, though the town looked a little rough to me.   We stopped at a dairy queen, and oddly the ambulance did too.  The most amazing thing, is that we didn’t know where she lived, but we later found we were less than a half a mile from her sweet little home.

Since we didn’t know where her house was and we had about an hour and a half left, we decided to find something to eat and ended up at a quaint little coffee-shop right next to her Father’s church.   We ate, had some tea and root beer and then changed in their bathroom.   Jennifer would probably like for me to point out that I left the dry cleaning tag in my dress, in complete Amanda style.   I saw her mother first, she looked sad and lovely,  I hugged her so tight and told her how much I loved her.   I met Clark, her nursing school buddy that introduced your Carrie’s father and her.  She noted that Clark could tell stories that ‘I didn’t need to hear about my mother.’   I squeezed on Bea and found out that DeDe had passed away three months ago… I’m so sorry I wasn’t there.    Carrie’s father was a complete mess, rightly so, of course.  Her brother was stoic and I finally met his girlfriend; I could see why Carrie liked her so much.

It was mostly a church service, not something I’m really into.  The homily was delivered by a new pastor and I could tell that she only knew Carrie through one person’s memory of her.   The only thing that I garnered from the homily was that I did know Carrie well.  I didn’t take communion or sing any of the songs because I didn’t know them.  There were mostly older folks, I think friends of her parent’s at the memorial.   I also saw that Sara, an old HS friend was there too.  I’d love to be able to tell her that I finally met Lenis and Tizzy and her new sister.

After the service we went to a cute little Sunday School room to do what everyone does after a service, eat.   I wasn’t really interested.   There were photographs of her has a young girl, a photo of her and I at Kings Dominion when we were so very young and her bible, which was found on her kitchen table, with lots of notes, it seemed to me, the same passage about ‘lepers’ written several times.   There was also the last card that Lynn sent her, with a bible passage, the card was found where that passage was from.    I’ll be honest, I wanted to take one of them, to have it, her hand-writing, a note, something tangible to hold and grieve.

I was not invited to her burial and where I get that very much, it hurts because I feel like I need to be close.    We’re going to take a road trip up there this weekend, so that I can pay my own respects.

On our way out of town, after retrieving her address we stopped at her house.  It was so incredibly painful.  I looked in her back window, into her tiny sweet kitchen, at her kitchen table and everything looks like it just stopped.  I broke down wicked when her kitty came to the window.   Sweet Moses, I just wanted to pick him up and hold him, bury my head into his body and cry.

Carrie’s mom asked me to mourn her properly.  She said no one does that anymore and I can understand where she’s coming from.   I’m not sure what proper mourning is, but I already know that I will.

Writing is very cathartic for me now.  I’d like to tell our story but I think I’m doing it a little ass backwards, which is how all of this seems.  Right now I’m just taking it hour by hour, letting the tears flow when they come and asking, no, maybe begging for her to send me a sign.

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