The white sheet


J O Huppler

Some of the things you see and experience in this life are etched in your mind forever. Days, weeks, months and sometimes years can pass and it’s there but you can almost push it away. You try to find a way to work around it, tiptoeing here and there, leaving it just out of reach but then a date or a word or a smell brings it back and leaves you feeling like it’s happening in the moment.

I know my mother won’t talk about what today is. I sometimes wonder if she even remembers. Maybe she chooses not to think about it. Maybe it would make her sad or angry. I don’t know how she feels about it though because we never talk about it. I won’t say anything to her even though I think about doing so.

Instead, I sit in a place of uneasy silence…..imagining it only feels odd to me.

You can’t forget when you find a dead person. I don’t know if it is possible. Everything changes in that moment–your sense of smell, your hearing, your being. Time doesn’t move. You cannot process anything that is happening around you. You want to escape but there really isn’t anywhere you can go.

They came—the police, the ambulance, the fire department–and I heard my mother telling them ‘do what you need to do, but don’t do anything more’. I tried to connect the dots to make sense of what she was saying but everything felt completely out of control and just out of reach.

They covered him in a white sheet and left him on the floor right where he was. The police officer stayed and stood there waiting, just standing there saying nothing while he lay on the floor behind him.

It seemed to take forever, but then they finally took him away. At that very moment everything went quiet….so very, very quiet. I don’t remember anyone saying anything at all.

Today I feel that uneasy silence.

Today feels like one of those days where everyone will simply disappear.

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