Chapter 75

The doorbell rings, and Mom goes to the door. Since the Code Silver event, I’ve avoided contact with people other than my family. I don’t want to make small talk, or any talk, really.

“It’s another flower arrangement,” Mom says, carrying a striking arrangement of irises and fern fronds. “Where should I put this one?”

“Let me see it first. Who’s it from?” It’s an elegant arrangement of irises, fern, and baby’s breathe in an artisan glass vase. I reach for the small envelope tucked in, and open it.

“We miss you girl. Look forward to getting together again soon. Love, Gerald”

“Aw, it’s from Gerald. He’s my respiratory therapist friend at the hospital. This is so sweet of him.” I look around for a place to put this arrangement among all of the others, and the “thinking of you” cards covering the shelf of the media center, coffee and dining room tables. I find a place for it on the kitchen island, next to the largest arrangement of all, sent from my PICU coworkers. I should text one of them, and let them know how I’m doing, but I don’t know what to say. I feel too fragile yet, and I don’t like it.

Before she and Grant left, Raquel scheduled an appointment with the counselor the hospital social worker referred me to, for next week. I’m not sure I feel comfortable talking about myself with a therapist, but maybe it’ll be okay.

Mom’s words snap me out of my reverie, “All of these flowers and cards make me think of Joel.” She looks wistful, and sad. I try to gage the depth her emotional status, and sense it’s okay to engage. “Me too, Mom. This whole thing makes me think of Joel. I love you, Mom.”

I’m not sure she heard me. Her arms are wrapped around her shoulders. She’s staring out the window at something I cannot see.