Words a Daughter Should Never Hear by Jenna Steeno The funeral home was in my home town and it was flooded with strangers. It was a Monday in May and just warming up. The birds chirped, cars drove by, and my friends were all sitting in school. School seemed so far away at the time, but it was just down the road. My father told my siblings and me that we had to stay outside until they closed the casket. He told us he didn’t want us to remember our mother like that. To know that my mother rolled the truck multiple times and was ejected through the windshield left me to imagine and create the worst. I sat on a wooden chair in front of the funeral home and watched as cars whizzed by. My thoughts were my only company at that moment. The day I received the numbing news resurfaced. I was sitting in my math class that Wednesday learning how to multiply 9’s when there was a slow heavy knock at the door. My principal, a tall man with a large gut and round glasses, appeared in the doorway. “Jenna needs to be excused,” he told my teacher, Mrs. Broderick. “That’s not a problem, Mr. Morstead,” she replied. She turned back to the chalk board to continue her lesson. I slid out of my chair, confused, wondering what I had done to get called out of class. I started towards the door. Mr. Morstead shook his head and pointed at my desk. “Grab all of your stuff, your back pack too.” I nodded and backtracked to my desk to pick up my math book. I brought it back to my cubby and put it away. I then snagged my back pack and sweatshirt off the hook and walked to the door. Out in the hallway was my little brother and little sister looking just as confused as me. We exchanged looks wondering what all three of us had done to be called out of class. “We’re going down to the high school office,” he said. We began our slow walk down the long corridor. “So what did we do to get suspension?” I asked. “You aren’t in trouble,” he said. He had a pained smile plastered across his face that wouldn’t go away. “Oh, that’s good! So why are we going to the office?” He left my question unanswered and walked silently with that stupid smile glued to his face. With no clues, my mind searched for answers in a million directions. We finally came to the high school office and walked through to a back room. Mr. Morstead told us to open the door and go inside. What awaited inside would change my life forever. I opened the door and behind me followed my little brother and sister. My father and three older brothers were sitting at a big round table all bawling their eyes out. Perplexed, I wasn’t so sure how to react. My father shook his head, not wanting to tell us. He pulled my little brother and sister in for a hug. “Your Mom is gone,” he sobbed. I must have looked confused and he sobbed out “She passed away!” He bit his lip and closed his eyes. “She’s dead!” Then we understood crystal clear and the tears poured out from our eyes. Church bells rang bringing me back to the funeral home. I wiped my tear-stained face as my father came around the corner of the building. “I was wondering where you were,” he said. He put his arm around me and pulled me in for a tight hug. “Come on, it’s time for us to go inside,” he whispered as he kissed my forehead.
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