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I had been out playing somewhere on a sunny August day in Bloomington, Minnesota a suburb of Minneapolis. I came home the door was open I walked in, no one was home.I found a letter in the kitchen that my mom had been writing. It had a key taped to it, it said that she was going to commit suicide at the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. About 5 minutes later my mom came home I questioned her about this note. Well she replied to me by saying "I was just mad". I was just 14 at the time, I trusted every word my mom had said,and when she said that she was not going to do anything I believed her, and never gave it another thought. Had I been 10 years older and a little wiser I probably would of took that as a warning sign from her.
A few weeks later it was the Friday before labor day weekend. We had a terrible storm that day. We had a cement driveway which was layered in pieces. in between every piece was a gap. Well apparently due to the rain from the storm there was a crack in the gap between the layered pieces, water would seep into the gap between two of the layered pieces and somehow get into the window well nearest the driveway. The window well would fill up with water and guess where the water went? If you said the basement your correct.
During this storm my dad took a bucket and feverishly tried to empty the water out of the well in the pouring rain. This caused my mom and dad to get into a bad argument. My mom and dad had never had a good relationship mostly due to my mom's alcoholism.
Although she had been in treatment a year earlier and I thought she was trying to stay sober. ( I think that she was trying to hide her drinking from me) Me and my mom had been real close, she led me to believe that her alcoholism and or drinking were OK. I also was to young to understand that what she was doing was wrong I did not have a good relationship with my dad because of her drinking.
Well it is Saturday morning I remember that it was a overcast day. My dad went to work on the cracks in the pavement. He would put a type of tar solution in between the affected gaps in hopes that would stop the flooding that we had a day earlier.
One of the things that I enjoyed to do was mow the lawn (no that is not a invitation for me to come over and mow your lawn). I started to mow the lawn and a few hours later after I finished, I went inside as my mom was in her car, pulling out of the driveway. I did not have a chance to say good by to her.
Saturday night came and she was not home. Where is she? One place I think she might of been was the State Fair. During the last week of August to Labor day is state fair time in Minnesota in nearby Falcon Heights (a St Paul suburb). One of the events at the fair is the talent show at the Schmidt band shell witch was wrapping up that weekend. My mom liked spending her time there during the fair that would be a good way to get off of your feet after walking around all day.
Then at about midnight I was up to see if my mom had gotten home, she still was not home. I remember the dog was laying down by the door on a small rug we had which was for wiping you feet upon entering the house.He was waiting to bark and warmly greet my mom when she came home. My dad had a small office down stairs along with is shop where he would make things out of wood and metal. He was in his office playing solitary. I sensed that he was concerned as to where my mother was also.
Sunday came she still was not home, I don't remember attending church that Sunday.
It now became afternoon my mom was still not home. I started to remember the note, that I questioned her about a few weeks earlier. I wanted to do something to find her I was only 14 and I could not just get into a car and go searching for her. I did not have a drivers license. I hopped on my bike and decided to check it out. I decided to check out the Savage Bridge first and then the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, Both bridges are two of many of very busy bridges in the Twin Cities metro area for commuters who work downtown that live south of the Minnesota river.
I first went to the Savage bridge, that was one of my favorite bridges when I was kid, it took car traffic as well as train traffic and when there was a barge that needed to pass under it the bridge would turn sideways. I did not see her car at the bridge.
I then biked to the Bloomington Ferry bridge which was another mile or so away. Then I got to the bridge, by the bridge was a small dirt driveway. Just as I thought, I found my mothers car. There was a note in the unlocked car . I read the note and it said that she felt that she was not a good mother and she decided to commit suicide. I decided to bike back home, I remember my dad being outside. I told him that I found my mom's car at the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. We immediately got into to car and took off leaving the side door open. If anyone wanted to rob us they could of just walked in and took everything we owned. My dad normally drives the speed limit, I never seen my drive as fast or as crazy as he did. I think the gas pedal was touching the floor of the car.
We got out there my dad opened the car door and looked at the note. We then proceeded to find a house and tried to find someone who would let us use the phone to call the police. I think we went to a few houses before finding someone home, I was feeling scared and sad, I decided to stay in the car. My dad finally found someone and then we went back to where my moms car was to wait for the police.
My dad waited by the bridge, while I waited in the car. About 15 or 20 minutes passed and I heard my dad shout a loud as he could "LIZ I LOVED YOU!". That made me feel real sad. I was thinking about the past year and how I had not gotten along with her. Finally the police came after what seemed like a hour and they took the report. I don't remember what we did the rest of that night or even how my moms car got back to our home.
Monday, labor day came, I remember my dad at one point telling me. That if we found my mom we would move to Colorado just like my mom always wanted to do. She had two pieces of property just west of Pueblo. My mom felt that the warm winters there would not make her arthritis not so painful. It also was very scenic part of the world.
Later that day I went out with a detective with the Bloomington Police department. There would be times where me and my mom would go on weekend getaways at a few local motel's in town or just outside of town. We went to places me and my mom previously stayed at. The thought was to see if she maybe had spent the night there or was there now. The search did not turn up anything. I remember the officer took me out to a fast food restaurant before taking me home.
It was Tuesday morning, the day after Labor day which was the first day of school. I would be starting the 8th grade that day. There was a new bus company that was busing students this year. Bloomington Bus company was no longer, apparently from what I understood later a number of the drivers quit the first day. My bus was one of those routes, where my bus never came. One of the fond memories I had with the Bloomington Bus Company was when our school bus broke down our driver was able to get a city bus until or regular school bus was repaired. that was always fun to ride to school on a city bus.
I attended Mount Hope Redemption Lutheran School. It was two Lutheran churches that combined and became one school at two locations. Mount Hope had Kindergarten 1st to 4th Grade and Redemption had 5th through 8th grade. Mount Hope was on the west side of town and Redemption was on the East side.
I don't remember allot about that week until Saturday, I am not sure if or when my class or principal were told about my mom's disappearance. I don't even remember if we prayed about her during that week in class or in our weekly Wednesday chapel service.
Saturday came and I was out of the house. During this time of my life I was so upset by what was going on I would spend allot of time walking,and on this day it was no different. I finally got home and my dad asked me to come into the living room. He told me that they had found my mom's body and that she was dead. They apparently had identified her by her dental records.
From that I decided to see some friends of mine. The Foss family. This family had four kids, three sons and a daughter, I was friends with most of them. I got there and told them what had happened and we visited on there doorstep for a little bit, and then finally they asked me in. To spite all the bad that happened I was in for a pleasant surprise. A few days later it would be my 15th birthday, they decided to throw me a surprise birthday party. I was shocked but very pleased that someone thought of me in this sad time.
I think that the funeral for my mom was on Tuesday. I was told before had that my whole class would attend the funeral. I was attending church at Mount Hope at this point in my life. I remember seeing the orange school bus pull into the lot that came from the Redemption campus with my 8th grade class.
The one thing that lying around the house was this file folder that I think my mom had written on it. "What I want to have when I die". It contained things she wanted done at her funeral. She wanted the first part of Ecclesiastics 3 to be read. She also wanted the Hymn Beautiful Savior to be sung. In other church denominations it is "Fairest Lord Jesus".
The Other thing that bothered me is she said that things were going to go wrong at her funeral, for instance the hearse would have a flat tire.Well things went wrong, but not the way she thought it would. The cards that they hand out at funerals telling you about the person's life were late. The other thing was the organ, Mount Hope had a pipe organ. It was not as big as one you would find in a cathedral, it was quite a bit smaller. The one thing it made allot of noise, so much that they turned it off during the sermon. The thing that went wrong is a pipe burst, it made ever more noise than usual. It sounded like a upper G key was stuck. Fred the organist before the service got up on a ladder and I think tried to pinpoint what pipe it was so the could call someone in and have it fixed.
Well the funeral started and we were ushered into the sanctuary with the rest of the family. The casket was closed, obviously the body was so badly bruised that it could not be shown. We sang the hymn Beautiful savior normally the tone of the organ was bright. Today it was subdued probably because of the sadness of the event. I don't remember much about the funeral besides the hymn and verse that she picked.
The next event was taking her body to the grave. Me, my dad and our pastor got into the car and started the 30 minute drive to my moms grave. My mom had her cemetery plot right next to her father and mother at a cemetery in a small town about 20 miles west of the twin cities called Mayer, Minnesota. My grandfather whom I never met believed at the time, that my mom would never marry and he bought a plot for her. There are only 300 people in this small town compared to the 80 thousand in Bloomington
When we arrived at the cemetery we were joined by towns people that knew her. To spite my mom had grown up in nearby Watertown, Minnesota there were people in Mayer that new her, mostly because my grandmother had lived in a small house in town for many years before she died in 1976. Mr. Block who used to be a teacher at my school who recently transferred out there was at the graveside memorial service. I remember very little of the graveside service with exception of Mr. block being there.
To spite this is a sad story, there is some good news in that Jesus knows when were sad. The shortest verse in the bible is John 11:35 Jesus wept. He wept because he was sad over the death of Lazarus. Jesus knows are pain, he knew the pain that I suffered when I lost my mom. If you lost a loved one, pray and tell him about you sadness and pain. Psalm 55:22 Cast all of your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. If you give him you pain he will help you through your time of sadness. I had a neighbor lady that tell me something during this time that I will never forget. "Jesus will bring good things out of hard times" he will do the same for you all you need to do is cast your care on him and trust him.
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Reader Count & Comments
11 Jul 2010
This is a very intense piece. I'm not sure if it is your childhood story. If you did grow up despite all the tragedies in this story, you are to be commended for having incredible faith and courage. There are several editing errors and a few spots where you could really pull raw emotion from the reader. If you want to send me your email I'll be happy to help more with this.
It's a story that too many people really need to hear.
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