"This is one of many interviews that make up the True Life series, in which we learn about amazing, intriguing people and the things that they've experienced. This is the story of Tyler, whose mom died of ovarian cancer while Tyler was a sophomore in college."
"Shopping for black clothes for the funeral was really weird. One of my sisters and I went to Forever 21, and we had to flick through the racks of cheerful, colorful stuff to find the few black items they had. What are you supposed to say when the salesperson asks you if you’re looking for anything in particular? It was bizarre."
My dad took me to Dillards. When he came up to Arkansas from Texas he hadn't brought a suit with him because he refused to believe he would have to go to a funeral. He bought a pin stripe suit. I got a black and white floral skirt. I wanted a pink one. I point blank told the sales lady my mom died four hours ago.
"The funeral was so surreal. I’m really emotionally guarded, so the funeral was the first time I had ever cried in front of people that weren’t my parents or sisters. It was liberating, in a way. The funeral itself went… well? I don’t know if that’s the right word."
I didn't cry at the funeral. They made us walk in after everyone else down the chapel's center aisle and everyone was staring. I actually felt like I was getting married. We'd scattered the ashes before the service and no one wanted to get up and tell stories because we wouldn't have made it through two sentences. In retrospect I wish I could have been stronger about that. My defense was to be a stone in the pew.
"I also dream about her all the time. Sometimes, in the dream, I know she died, but other times it’s like she never got sick."
I used to have the most terrible dreams where she had died, but came back to life and didn't know she'd been sick or died, and everyone else had moved on, or she and my dad would want a divorce. Or worse, she'd be dying physically but was still alive, and everything about her was falling apart. I think I've only had one good dream about her, and I can't even remember it.
"For people with a death in their own families, you should know that there is no right way to grieve. Don’t look to anyone else for how you’re supposed to feel or what you’re supposed to do."