The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my aunt, Pam Barrer, at her home in Huntingdon Valley.  She was still grieving the death of her daughter, and you could feel the melancholic air as soon as one stepped into the house.  She was cloaked in a heavy, brown blanket with a cup of green tea in her hand, and her dog at her feet.  This memory is clearly a major point in her life, as it was her second daughter that she had lost in the span of three years.  Hilary lost her battle with cancer, and Pam was with her the whole way through.

The air outside on this November afternoon was crisp but the sun was still shining bright.  There was a steady breeze outside that made the wind chimes surrounding the home sing.  Inside, the Barrer family was sat around the bed of their daughter Hilary.  Hilary had been fighting against brain cancer for several years now, but as of the past month, she knew that she would not win this battle.  She was bed ridden and living with her husband, Gadi, in her parents Pam and Steve’s home.  Her brother, Andrew, had also moved back home to spend Hilary’s last few months with her.  The quality of conversation between Pam and Hilary had been diminishing overtime as Hilary became weaker and weaker, but today Hilary seemed to be a little more upbeat.  Pam did not want to become too hopeful as Hilary had been struggling a lot the past month.  Deep down, Pam knew that her daughter’s life was nearing the end.

Hilary sat up for a moment, and grabbed her mother’s hand.  She looked at each of her family members before laying back down.

“I am not afraid…...I just don’t want to leave everyone behind upset….” Hilary trailed off.

Pam smiled to herself, it was just like Hilary to be concerned about other people even when she was hurting the most.

“I know, Hill…  It would be easier if the house burnt down with all of us inside it,” Andrew joked.

Suddenly, the family’s Yorkshire terrier jolted up.  She stared straight up into the air and began to run in circles on Hilary’s bed.  Pam thought that this was weird, their dog was usually pretty quiet.

“Izzy!  Calm down, you’re okay!”  Pam exclaimed trying to calm the dog down.

Izzy began to howl at ear-piercing volumes.  Nothing would calm her down, and she wouldn’t let Pam hold her.  After about ten minutes, Izzy finally relaxed and laid down on Hilary’s stomach.  When the attention turned back to Hilary to see her reaction to the crazy dog, their hearts sunk- she had passed away. 

While the family had been preparing themselves for this day, they didn’t expect it to come so soon.  Pam swears that the commotion their dog caused, was because she could see Hilary’s spirit ascending into heaven and was trying to alert the family of what they could not see.

Life and Death

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November 2017
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I interviewed my aunt, Pam Barrer, at her home in Huntingdon Valley. She was still grieving the death of her daughter, and you could feel the melancholic air as soon as one stepped into the house. She was cloaked in a heavy, brown blanket with a cup of green tea in her hand, and her dog at her feet. This memory is clearly a major point in her life, as it was her second daughter that she had lost in the span of three years. Hilary lost her battle with cancer, and Pam was with her the whole way through.

Tags: Family, cancer, death
Decade: 2010s
Rating:
Recorded by Grace Wiedmann on December 4, 2017
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