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Frozen In Time

posted May 31, 2017, 9:14 AM by Eli Roberts

By Shirly C. 

     Ring! Ring! I heard a bell off in the distance.  Why was it ringing?  Why won’t it stop?  I jerked awake to realize it was the phone.  I glanced at the clock, three in the morning, who could be calling this early?  Growing up I remember being told that if you get a call in the middle of the night, someone was either dead or arrested.  Ring! Ring! There it goes again.  I finally picked up the receiver on that cold January morning.  In the pit of my stomach, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

            I heard a crackling, emotional voice on the other end, It was my mother. I had a sense of foreboding because my mom would never call in the middle of the night.  I darted out of bed and shouted, “What’s wrong?”  My mom began to speak, but I could tell she was holding back tears.  Even though I was still drowsy, I knew what I was about to hear would be earth shattering.  Her words were floating through the air, but they didn’t quite register. 

“They found Mike’s body early this morning; there was an accident and he’s gone,” she whispered.  After that my brain grew fuzzy and I only heard snippets of the rest: riding a snowmobile, night, coming home, didn’t see the turn, ravine, killed instantly. I didn’t know what to say.  I mumbled incoherently trying to make sense of what I was hearing.  As my mother continued to explain the details, I was frozen in that moment.  Memories were flooding through my mind like slides in a slideshow, recalling all the times us cousins spent together as kids.  We watched each other grow up, went to each other’s graduations, witnessed marriages, experienced his babies being born, and we became adults together.  It was all gone in one phone call early that January morning.

Our families were close throughout our lives. Our fathers were brother’s so we did a lot together.  We had just celebrated New Year’s Day at my aunt’s house where we always had plenty of laughter, stories to go around and good food. Mike told us about an upcoming trip to Wisconsin he was going on with his buddies. They were going snowmobiling and he was really looking forward to it.  Little did I know that would be the last time I saw him.  It hit me like light a bolt of lightning; I couldn’t breathe as the tears began to fall.

I know life goes on, but his won’t.  He’ll never see his children grow, his daughter walk down the aisle, or his sons graduate from high school or college and begin families of their own.  He won’t be there for any more family gatherings or holidays. He won’t be there for me to talk to or laugh with, he will be forever frozen in time.

I will never forget that day, just like I will never forget him.  His legacy grows on in his three children, whom I’ve seen grow into beautiful human beings.  We don’t get to see each other as much as we should.  We get caught up in our busy lives, but we find a way to move on. 

It has been several years since Mike’s death, and I think about him all the time.  The feelings are still raw like an open wound that will never close.  Our families will be forevermore changed from this tragic loss.  Losing someone is never easy.  His death has taught me one thing: life is too short and you should live it to its fullest, just like Mike did.