Note from SweetPoyzin: Contains language.
Also, I’m sorry.
My family slept soundly as fall crept over Eden Grove. Little did we know that the world as we knew it was about to implode.
Early in the wee hours of October 20th my phone rang.
“Penny? It’s daddy.” My dad sounded half awake yet startlingly lucid for 1 o’clock in the morning.
“Daddy? What’s wrong?” A feeling of dread started to form in the pit of my stomach.
“Honey…your mom. She — she passed away.”
“Daddy? Daddy, I have to go.” I dropped the phone as pain ripped through my body.
“FINN! Get up! Mom’s dead. Baby coming. GET UP NOW, ASSHOLE!”
Finn rolled over and and looked at me through bleary eyes. “What? You’re mom’s fine. She was here last week. And Ellie isn’t due until November 3o. Come back to bed. Bad dreams.”
Of course then my water broke and Finn more or less figured out that this mess was not, in fact, a bad dream.
“FUCK! SHIT! You’re mom can’t be dead! Damn it!”
“Not really my main concern, Finley. Call Liv. We have to go!” Part of me was glad he was reacting so harshly because I could not. In fact, I had little time to mourn my mother’s passing at all. Ellie was coming early whether we wanted her to or not.
I’m not a huge believer in angels or whatever but someone, I’m guessing my mother, was on my side in that delivery room. Even though Ellie was more than a month early, she was perfectly healthy. After 72 hours of observation, Danielle Jayne was allowed to come home with us.
Liv and Finn had spent those three days hard at work on Mom’s funeral and Dad’s future.
They had decided to have the funeral at our house before going on to the cemetery. Everything was set on that end.
With the new baby added on top of the boys and the farm work, it would be easier to have extra help at home. Nobody wanted Dad to spend his first weeks without Mom alone in their house — filled with memories. So Finley decided to put our attic to good use.
In just three days Finn, his father, brother, and brother-in law worked with grandpa, Adam, and Mike to turn our attic into an apartment for Dad. It had a private entrance, a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen…everything for Dad to live with us but still on his own.
Finn went above a beyond that first week. He took care of most of Ellie’s needs.
He cleaned the house and took care of the horses. The boys really stepped up, too.
I’m glad they were all here to deal with the fallout while I wrote Mom’s eulogy and prepared for the burial with the cemetery. The funeral was upon us.
We had the funeral at our house. It was small, just family.
Despite her perpetually blue clothing, Mom’s favorite color was yellow. We had yellow flowers, even a yellow urn for her final resting place.
Dad came over early and we all left him alone with Mom for a few moments.
I couldn’t imaging what it would be like for him now. He and Mom had been married for 35 years. All it took was one heart attack, one minute, to rip them apart forever.
Finally he called us all back down to be with him. Seeing my father sobbing over the remains of my mother was too much. I didn’t want to cry in front of the boys but I did. And then that made them cry which only made me cry harder.
Finally, I pulled myself together so I could talk to my dad.
“The apartment is ready for you whenever you are ready to move in, you know?”
“I–I don’t know what to say, Penny. I really don’t want to impose. I don’t want to be a bother.” He looked so small. Life had crushed him.
“Daddy, you are never a bother.”
“Please, please say you’ll stay Pop-Pop! Someone has to teach me to play chess! Mom always beats me but I know you’ll let me win!”
“Of course I’ll stay, O. O..”
And so Owen had his chess grand master and Aiden had his guitar hero. The only thing missing was Mom.
I eulogized the shit out of Mom.
She was the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. She raised three awesome kids and threw one hell of a party. If I turn out half as wonderful as she is…I’ll be lucky.
Stay tuned for “Remembering Mollie Hanks: A Life in Pictures”