by Kim Stairs
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Starting Over Written by: Kim MJ Stairs 2-14-08
The sun had just set in its morning array of glory, and my eyes were trying to adjust to its brightness. But inside of me, it was dark. Of all the things I had to do today, this is the one that troubles me the most. I had to go to a school where I didn’t know anyone. I tried to put the thoughts out of my head while I got ready for school. Dad made a quick breakfast and made sure we were ready to go. “Let’s go kids. My new job starts today and traffic can be a mess.”
Jim and I grabbed our book bags and headed to the car. It was a nice car. Blue in color and big enough for the three of us to get around in. Dad was not the fastest driver, he liked to take his time and enjoy the scenery. The snow had fallen lightly over the trees. Yet I was still nervous about going to school. “I’ll see you boys when I get home from work.” Dad said. “Ok dad, see ya.” We got out of the car and headed toward the doors of the school.
The other kids were comfortably hanging in their social circles, while I was feeling very lonely. Jimmy looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. “Find me at lunch, catch ya later.” Jimmy was a few years older than me and very friendly. He couldn’t care less about being in a new school, but I just wanted to go back home. Well our old home.We moved here last week because dad didn’t want to stay in Grand Rapids. There were too many bad memories for him. So he wanted a fresh start. As I sat at my desk I thought for a moment about the night he told us we were moving.
Dad explained, “Listen boys, I know this might come at a time when you’re really starting to settle down with your friends and sports, but I can’t stay here any more after what happened.” Jimmy being more laid back replied with his half-grin, eyes rolled back expression, “Ya dad. We got it.” I sat there half stunned and somehow still understood. “Any thing you want to say son?” I quietly said no and went to my room. My thoughts returned to the present moment as the teacher spoke.
“Class let’s begin our lesson. Last week we began graphing linear equations. Turn in your books to page 73”, Mr. Baines barked. After doing several problems on the board, he gave us our worksheet and homework assignment. Next it was Art, then English right before lunch. Of course with each class came more homework. This was after all, the seventh grade. I didn’t mind homework too much while basketball season was over until next year. It kept me busy at home instead of staring at ceiling after dinner, which led to many unpleasant memories.
As I grabbed my lunch tray, I looked around for Jimmy. Today’s lunch menu was pizza and fries or the all you can eat taco salad buffet. I always went for the pizza. I can fold up and eat it in four big bites. Today wasn’t the same though, I looked around for my friends, but they weren’t there. My eyes did a quick glance for Jimmy. He waved me over to his table. Jim liked to sit with the jocks. Even at a new school he could sense out the big boys. “Hey Jimmy.” Jimmy didn’t talk to me much. Just to the new guys he was getting to know from his new classes.
The rest of my day was much the same. Jimmy got a ride home from one of the guys, and I decided to take the bus instead of walk home. The snow had melted, but it was still very cold. I stared out the bus window as the other kids were singing along with the radio, or goofing around. As cars, trees, and houses dazed by, my mind went back to Grand Rapids.
Our house was a little bit bigger on the corner of the street. I had my own room then. Now I had to share a room with Jimmy, and he’s no neat freak. I went to school with a lot of my friends, and I had a youth group to go to. But most of all, I miss mom. I find myself thinking about her all the time. Dad tried so hard to want to stay there after mom got sick, but it just hurt him too much. So three months later, dad had found a new house in a new city.
“Sam, come down and have dinner before it gets could!” Dad was home late but heated dinner back up for us. Jimmy was in his room doing who knows what with his music blaring. Dad was watching his favorite TV show, and occasionally turning his head to check on me. I thought about talking to him about how I was feeling so lonely, but wasn’t sure how. Dad and I were close, but I felt I could share more with mom. She liked to sit and listen. She was always giving us Bible verses and praying with us before bed, even though we were older now.
My life was so easy and simple. Then mom got sick. She really didn’t seem as sick as the doctor’s said she was. But the medicine made her really tired and weak. After she battled this sickness for months that seemed to never end, she told us she was ready to go home. She wanted to stay in the house, so nurses came and helped out everyday. The night she passed away will be with me forever. She called us over, asked dad to put on her favorite worship song, and then he read Psalm 23 to her. We all were praying, so our eyes were closed. The room began to feel warm and peaceful. It sort of glowed. When I opened my eyes, mom was gone, but she had a soft smile on her face.
So now I find myself in a new town, school, and house. All my friends are hours away, unless dad let’s me chat with them on the computer. Mom didn’t like that much though. So that means dad won’t let me do it either. Dad seemed to like the new house and his new job at the bank. Jimmy was already making friends and hanging out at the arcade after school. So why do I feel so lonely? Maybe it’s because I miss mom so much.
What would mom say if I told her I was feeling this way? I went up to my room after I told dad good night. He gave me a quick good night as he looked up from his journal, and said, “I love you”, and asked, “Did you get your homework done?” “Yeah dad. Good night.” Jimmy was already in our room. So I proceeded with caution. “Jimmy, can we talk a minute?” “Sure squirt, what’s up.”
“I miss mom and I think about her all the time. Sometimes, I think I hear talking.” Jimmy’s look softened. A look I’m not sure I’ve seen before. Jimmy and I didn’t have many heart to heart conversations. After all we were men. Jimmy quietly responded, “It’s ok. I miss her too. Sometimes I think I see her when we’re out. But it will get easier kid.” Tears started to well up in my eyes, but I didn’t want Jimmy to see them. “Do you think it will always hurt so much?” Jimmy spoke again, “Squirt, people say it’ll get easier with time. I hope that’s true. We’ll help each other, ok.” I replied with a simple, “Ok.”
It was another three months later and things at school were getting better. I was getting Bs and two Cs on my report card. I made a couple of good friends and joined the cross country team. I loved to run. Mom would cheer me on the whole way.
My first meet is next week. I will miss her, but Dad and Jimmy will be there. This has been a long six months. But I found a few good friends, and started a small group at youth group. My youth pastor and school counselor are helping me deal with the loss of my mom. I’ve used a journal to write out how I feel now that my mom’s gone. Sometimes I write songs. Maybe some day I’ll sing them to other kids who are going through this too. I still have red light days, but today is definitely a green light day.
My alarm was going off again and I slowly pulled the covers back. The sun was shining through the window filling our room full of light. As my eyes adjusted, I realized that the darkness of grief inside of me was fading away. The sun was beginning to shine again.
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Kim I loved this heartrending story about the loss of a mom and challenges of relocating. You wrote this well, I enjoyed the read.
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