Nichole Hungerford

From the Writings of David Horowitz: May 11, 2010

Posted on May 11 2010 6:45 am
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On a dark Thursday in March the telephone rang and I picked up the receiver to hear my youngest child say “Something terrible has happened,” and I knew that a family member was gone.

When death takes someone you love, there is no looking back. And there is only looking back. You can’t complain there’s been a mistake or argue there was no time for goodbyes. You can’t protest the life was too short, and you can’t negotiate a deal for a final conversation. When death takes someone you love, she has slipped off the edge of the world and there is no bringing her back.

So it was with my daughter Sarah who was taken from us without warning in her forty-fourth year, leaving a wake of vacancy and heartache behind.

More than a day intervened between her collapse and the time police discovered her body on the floor of her apartment where it lay crumpled by her bed. Though we can never know for sure, it appears she drew her last breath on Wednesday, March 6, 2008. They had gone to look for her after she failed to show up at the school where she taught autistic youngsters, and did not call in sick. It was out of character for her to be unconcerned about her children, so the school called her mother, Elissa, who called my daughter Anne, who said, “We must notify the police.”

By the time I answered Anne’s call in Los Angeles, they had already located Sarah in the spot where her heart had stopped. For those of us who loved her, there was nothing left but to get on with our grieving and counting up our loss, and then to proceed with the arrangements for putting her lifeless body to its rest.

In the three days that passed before the funeral, I noticed how our conversations kept returning to the final words each of us had exchanged with her when she was alive. What was the purpose of these futile gestures that could not bring her back? Perhaps they could be understood as a desperate hope for the past to flow into the present as before. As though, after the pause, we might pick up the phone to hear her voice, or knock unexpectedly at her door and find her at home to open it when we did.

There were other dimensions to our helplessness during these watery hours — unnerving thoughts that had to do only with ourselves. I should have spent more time with you when there was time to spend. I should have told you how much I love you, or told you more often. I should have been less contentious when we had our disputes. I should have come up with more ways to protect you. How desperately now, when it is too late, I wish I could put my arms around you and hug you again, and hold you and hold you.

A Cracking of the Heart 

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