I Talked to Jerry

21 Aug

My mom’s sister, Jerry, died 20 years ago of breast cancer.

Jerry, who was 10 years older than my mom, was like a mother to her. My grandmother was a single mom who worked full-time, and moved the family around a lot within San Diego County and Los Angeles. When Jerry became an adult and moved out on her own, my mom would spend summers at Jerry’s, relishing the freedom, ease, and comfort of their time together.

Jerry was my mom’s best friend. She took my mom to see The Beatles in 1965, which my mom says is the best concert she’s ever been to, even though she couldn’t hear the music over the crowd screaming. She and my mom did stuff together all the time, and even after my brother and I were born, Jerry was a big part of our lives.

When Jerry died, something in my mom broke. She retired early and began being much more solitary. We all miss Jerry very much.

I was at my mom’s house yesterday when she told me, “I talked to Jerry.” She was dead serious and started to cry as she explained it to me. She said Jerry was there, sitting next to set in the same way I was. That Jerry looked the same as before she got sick; she hadn’t aged. That Jerry said she’d be seeing her soon. That it was weird but nice, and that it’s happened twice.

My mom is an atheist. She is not someone who finds comfort in religion, or someone who ever thought there was anything after death. But she was emphatic that she talked to Jerry.

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