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The Groves Scriptor

The Groves Scriptor

The Groves Scriptor

August 31, 2023

Wagner family
Baity Wagner with her mom at a summer swim meet in 2015.

“Ashton, why don’t you go with your mom to walk the dog?” My dad suggested to my brother. That’s weird, my Dad and my stepmom always go on walks together. Luna isn’t gonna walk out the door without him. But she did, almost like she knew something. I turned to face my father in the kitchen as he leaned against the sink.

“Your mother died this morning,” the kitchen was quiet. No one had anything else to say. My dad continued to explain what happened during her sleep in the bleak hospital. I didn’t listen. It all sounded muffled as my brother continued to make a smoothie. His burnt eggs scared me out of my tunnel vision. I go to sit on the barstools. My dad comforted us and expressed his support for us in these “hard times”.

I sat down at one of the barstools and stared at my father and brother. “So she’s never gonna see me drive, she’s never gonna see me graduate, she’s never gonna see me get married, maybe have children, get a job, go to college, turn sixteen. She’s not gonna have any of that?” My father didn’t respond. Or if he did I wasn’t listening. It didn’t feel real. My mom is dead and that’s it. Her soul is no longer here.  

My thoughts continued to spiral as I wallowed in confusion and sadness. I sat down on the couch with my father and cried. I felt like I was sinking into the couch and into my father’s embrace. A deep, dark hole that smells like the musky scent of his cologne. My tears dropped down the black hole. I choked on the salty tears. My father squeezed me and I’m back on the couch again. 

When I was in mid-panic attack, my brother had no reaction. He turned on the TV with his smoothie and eggs. I wanted to scream. I wanted to scream at him. Why wasn’t he feeling anything? Our mother was good to him. 

I spent the rest of my night crying.

I texted two of my closest friends Lynn and Camélia asking them to come over that weekend to sort through the boxes of her clothes, jewelry, bags and any other keepsakes. 

I sat in my driveway that weekend surrounded by makeup and boxes. I sat sobbing, watching my tears soak the concrete on that warm September evening. I saw the twins’ pickup truck drop them off and I hugged them both. I sobbed even harder into their shoulders. Not just from sadness but from my eternal gratitude. 

They helped me sort each and every box. We talk about old stories and laugh at her old, ugly clothes. We find old books, shoes, bags, nail polish and every other item you could find in a girl’s purse(except for her excessive amount of icy freeze). I’m obsessed with these keepsakes. I wear the same, stupid bracelet she had. Her medical ID bracelet. Her keepsakes help me grieve her. 

Keepsakes that will always be with me, that isn’t inherited through a will are passed genetically. My hazel eyes, how tan my skin gets in the summer, my hair, and how we look like twins when comparing pictures of her when she was 15. But something I inherited from her that I don’t see in the mirror is my broken, bipolar brain. I think of my mom when my manic highs trigger my insomnia and have to plan out every productive minute of my day. I think of my mother when my depressive lows keep me in bed until 6:00 pm; when my dad has to pick me up out of my bed, sobbing in his arms. My highs let me hold hands with grief and lay flowers at its doorstep. My lows kick, scream and weep at it’s feet until I lose my voice.

How do you grieve a bad person? How do you grieve a mother? Grief is completely different for everyone. It’s one concept I don’t think any psychologist will fully understand. The relationships we have with others, our childhoods, and who we are as people are as unique as our fingerprints. This shapes the way we grieve. That concept alone is extremely difficult for a 15 year old girl to understand. I read 16 books about grief after my mother died. Some helped, some didn’t. Something that I will always remember is something her nurse told me. Grief isn’t a mountain you climb and eventually get over, its the backpack that you wear climbing that mountain. Some days it feels insufferable; some days you don’t even notice it. I will carry this backpack my whole life.

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About the Contributor
Baity Wagner, Reporter
Baity Wagner is a sophomore in high school and a writer for the Scriptor. This is her first year on the Scriptor and she decided to join for her love of creative writing. Baity plays volleyball and lacrosse for club teams and is considering doing water polo for Groves. Baity has won four state awards for poetry through Reflections and she plays the guitar, piano, drums and violin. She also loves to draw and run.
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