On Sunday, I had to drive past where Jessica and Kelli died. I don't know if it was because I was alone, because I was listening to Dave Matthews, because it was raining, or what, but as I approached the overpass I experienced a stab of grief and pain so intense I had to catch my breath.
I've been thinking about them a lot lately. Not that I don't think about them daily. The holidays make me miss them even more. I was shopping for the Easter essentials today (ham, potatoes, wine), and as I went through the frozen section I saw Cool-Whip. I realized I wasn't making Jessica Salad this year. I almost cried as I passed the freezer without buying any. It may sound stupid but I just can't make it this year. (Jessica Salad is a concoction of pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple and Cool-Whip. She started making it when she was about 5 and it's been a staple of our holiday tables ever since.)
Tonight I had to find some paperwork that I knew was in their Funeral Box O'Fun. The name comes from Maddy's godfather Kevin, who also gave their eulogy. When he came to my house before the funeral to discuss the service, he had a backpack with his Bible and book of readings, and whatnot. We deemed it the Funeral Backpack O'Fun. I don't know why, maybe because we had to find something to laugh about.
Anyway, the Funeral Box O'Fun is a huge plastic storage tote full of important paperwork like their death certificates and insurance papers, but also their funeral guest books, sympathy cards, and newspaper articles. As I was flipping through it to find what I was looking for, I found the very first Post-Dispatch article after the wreck. The picture of the crumpled cars on the front page was horrible, but not as bad as the next day's paper, which had pictures of their beautiful faces next to that carnage.
I could feel that familiar cocktail of pain and anger, sadness and rage, boiling up again.
I quickly found what I was looking for, and put the lid on the box. If only I could put the lid on my feelings just as easily.