On the afternoon of June 7th, I was drinking my coffee when the phone rang. My husband Jonathan answered it, "Hello," he said. After listening, he paused and looked worriedly at me. Something was wrong! Realization that the caller brought bad news hit me, as Jonathan handed the phone over: "It's Colleen."
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I took the phone out of his hand, said, "Yes, Colleen? What's the matter?" It definitely wasn't a usual thing for Barbara's best friend to be calling me on a Sunday! "Barbara passed away this morning in a freak accident ..." Colleen began.
The room began to darken around me. 'Passed away' at 24 years of age? I couldn't believe it! It had to be a joke! The crash of the falling telephone brought Jonathan running; I remember him picking the phone up to talk to Colleen as I fainted.
The mourners came early to St. Mary's Cemetery. Some wept, and others whispered together, as they stood around the open grave. In the background, the priest was saying, "Barbara Ann, vivid with life, brought us love and joy -" The sun shone so bright in the sky, a light wind blew, touching the mourners with chilly fingers. "She was young and beautiful, and awake to the beauty around her -" the priest continued to drone on. The crowd was still except for the sound of weeping, and the priest's voice. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..."
Everyone seemed to be there: Barbara's family, her office friends and close friends, Colleen, her husband and parents. "May we yet see the radiance of a new day." the priest droned on.
I felt the strength of Jonathan's arms around my shoulders - a comfort in this nightmare.
"Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." The priest looked up, telling the mourners with sad eyes that it was time. Barbara's family stepped forward, single carnations in each hand, and each placed a carnation on the now-closed casket, then knelt and prayed. Standing up, her father snapped one last, final picture of his beloved daughter's resting place, and taking his wife's arm with their son following beside them, they walked quietly away to the cars that were waiting for them ....
(c.) 2004 Rosanne Catalano