I was fifteen years old when my world collapsed around my ears. I hadn’t thought twice about the police car in front of my house. Detective Drew had been a staple family friend for as long as I could remember, and when something happened to his car, he’d have a patrol car leant to him. So, I was actually kind of excited to see the cop car—now eager to hear the story that led to the absence of Detective Drew’s regular car.
I never expected to find a young officer—a man I didn’t know—waiting in my living room. He had the code phrase, the one my mom, detective drew, and I had set up years ago, the one that meant there was an emergency but I could trust who ever had brought me the code. My knees gave away, and I fell against the wall. The young officer helped me to the car—and drove me to the Police Station—where Detective Drew broke away from a briefing to sit quietly with me and break the bad news.
My mother was dead.
She had been killed in a hit and run accident on her way to work that morning. The gravity of that hit me like a brick. My mother had been dead for nearly eight hours and I hadn’t felt it. In fact, I’d had a pretty good day. How could I have had a good day when my mother had been lying in a hospital morgue?
I don’t really remember much of the next couple of days. I went through them in a kind of daze. I ate when food was put in front of me. I slept when someone put me in a bed. I don’t know if I spoke or even had a thought during those days.
The first thought I remember was when my father showed up.
My mother had been dead for three days, four hours, and seventeen minutes when my father walked through the police station doors. I remember looking at him—recognizing him—but not realizing what he could possibly be there for.
He was there to take me to his home. I was a minor and he was my father. Who else was going to take care of me now?