It was the weekend of Leo’s memorial service, and I was back in Ann Arbor. Still, I’m hesitant to be here because of all the dreams I’ve been having lately. I’m more confused about things than ever. I can’t remember all of them, but I know I’ve seen Leo calling out to me. I’m glad to be back in Ann Arbor, but I’m most excited about getting to see my parents and friends.
Everything was telling me it’s too soon to be back home. Realistically, I had not really planned on going back for a while. But I thought I needed to be there, since this was the first time his parents had opted to have an anniversary memorial and gather everyone that was close to him. I still can’t believe it’s been two years since his passing. I need to be strong. Besides, I haven’t seen the Dancys, and I want to catch up with them.
Sandy was so sweet before I left. She gave me this beautiful card, and inside she wrote for me to stay strong. She’d been working so hard on her upcoming show, I’m glad I got the chance to watch her perform before coming. Sandy was sad she couldn’t accompany me to Leo’s memorial, but are were a few more shows coming up for her, and she needs to be ready.
“It’s okay, Sandy,” I told her. “I actually preferred to go alone.”
“I understand, Mia. But as your friend I just wanted you to know I am here for you.”
I nodded. “I know.”
Henry also tried to come with me.
“Thank you, Henry,” I told him, “but this is more of a private ceremony for close family and friends.”
He frowned. “Well, I should have known that. Don’t I feel daft!”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Mia. Daft is what translates as stupid!” He laughed.
“Henry Watson, you are not stupid,” I scolded.
He nodded. “Okay. I am not. Sorry. I hope all goes well, Mia.”
I smiled. “Thanks. Me too.”
Truth be told, I’m grateful both Sandy and Henry always seem to have my back just when I need it most. But today is one day I want to tackle on my own. I’m not sure how this weekend will go, but I’m trying to stay hopeful.
When my parents came to pick me up at the train station, they were so overjoyed and amazed at the way I look.
“Mia, honey. You look so alive and happy!” my mother exclaimed with tears in her eyes.
“Yes, Mia, you do,” echoed my dad.
“Also, my dear. You are just as lovely as ever.”
Dad smiled and put an arm around my mother. “I agree, Mary. Our baby is beautiful. But then, just look at her mother.”
“I really missed you guys.”
“Oh, we missed you too,” Dad said.
“Mia, you will love what we have prepared for dinner, and then you can tell us all about school.”
“Thanks, Mom and Dad.” For now, I wanted to focus on everything being normal.
That is, however, kind of hard when, on the drive home, I noticed my mother and father giving each other knowing, serious looks. Dad kept trying to hide whatever it is they are thinking about by asking me questions about school and my friends, which would be perfectly normal, except for the fact my mother keeps whispering things to him in between his questions to me.
I pouted. “Guys, is everything okay?”
“We are fine, Mia,” said my dad, in a more anxious tone.
“Come on, guys. This is me. Mia. I know you both too well.”
My mother paused and then blurted out. It’s no use, Dan.”
“Okay. It’s about Margie Dancy.”
“Oh my gosh. Is she okay?” I knew something was wrong. Something’s happened to Leo’s mom.
“Mia, she is not doing well.”
“Wh-what is wr-wrong?” I stuttered.
My mother turned back to look at me. “Please, honey. Breathe.”
“How can I mom?”
“Mia, Margie has had a hard time dealing with Leo’s death.”
“I can imagine.”
Boy, here I am living my life in NYC and not even thinking about poor Mrs. Dancy.
“She was doing okay. They even took that trip they’d been planning, but when she came back and it was time to pack up Leo’s room, she lost it,” Mom tells me.
Dad nodded. “Yes. I feel for both Eliza and John. He tried to make her see reason, but she just shut down. So, he had to send her some place to get help.”
“You mean she is not going to be at Leo’s anniversary memorial.”
He shook his head. “I’m afraid not.”
“John thinkd this will make her relapse more. She is getting better, but she is still not 100 percent.”
I can’t believe this news about how badly she is feeling, and a wave of guilt washes over me. I should have stayed to help her. Suddenly, I’m overcome with nausea, and I start to breathe really hard—fast, shallow breaths.
Mom reached down into her purse and then hands something back to me. It’s a brown paper bag. “Mia, honey, please take this bag.”
I took the bag and started breathing into it.
Mom turned to Dad. “Dan, why don’t you pull over by the park here?”
“Sure thing. Hang on, Mia.”
Mom unlatched her seatbelt and turned around in her seat to watch me. “Okay, now, Mia. Breathe.”
As I breathed into the bag. I notice how attentive both my parents were being.
“This is why we didn’t want to tell you, honey,” Mom said.
“Just breathe, honey,” called my Dad.
I’m glad that the attack is over after about 30 minutes.
“Better now?” Mom asked.
“Yes, Mom and Dad. Thank you.”
“Okay. Now let’s get you home,” said my Dad.
“We’ll have a quiet dinner, and then you can go up to your room and rest.”
I stepped into the house again. Everything feels so familiar, but different at the same time. Mom and Dad have redone the living room. “Nice job, guys.”.
“We’re so glad you like it Mia.”
Dad shrugged. “Well, your mother wanted something different.”
“Love it, guys.”
“Okay. Let’s wash up to eat,” said my mom.
Later that evening, we enjoyed a quiet dinner together. My mom and dad wanted to make it a bigger thing, but after my panic attack Mom decided to have everyone wait to come and see me the next day. I’m glad to be back, but I’m also nervous. As I finish dinner and get my bath ready, I can’t stop thinking about Mrs. Dancy.
Oh, I wish I could talk to Henry and Sandy now.