My energy arose as I thought about my friend, Kylie’s, birthday party happening in two days. Kylie and I had been friends since first grade. I had just completed my freshman year of college, so I looked forward to seeing Kylie after a year.
But I received a text message from my college friend, Astrid. I read it.
Lila, my mom just lost her battle with breast cancer. Her funeral is this Saturday.
Pain shocked my body and my jaw lowered. I responded.
Oh, no, I’m so sorry to hear.
The door to the house opened. My mom entered, dragging her feet and lacking energy.
“Mom, are you all right?” I asked.
“Lila, did you hear what happened to Mrs. Jackson?”
I paused for a few seconds. “Astrid’s mom?”
“Yes.” My mother sat. “Her mom and my mom used to be roommates in college, too.”
I hesitated and then said, “Why didn’t you ever tell me this?”
“I…I lost touch with her until you met Astrid.”
My phone sounded another text alert. I checked it. It came from…Kylie.
So excited for Saturday. Can’t wait to see you.
I stared at the communication, but did not respond. Kylie’s birthday party and Mrs. Jackson’s funeral fell on the same day.
I had attended my grandpa’s funeral two years ago, and I’d had a tough time. I missed him, but I hadn’t cried over his death once…not even after hearing about his passing from my mother.
While other people had wept at his funeral, I had just stood, bored for hours until the speeches had begun.
I had hoped not to attend any more funerals since. I recall how the time at the funeral home had dragged and I’d been there for hours with my family.
Aside from that, I had not seen Kylie since graduation from high school. Her party would start at three P.M. So, maybe I could attend the funeral and then leave for the birthday event. But wait—would that offend Astrid? I had a feeling that it might.
“Lila, we should go to the funeral this Saturday,” my mom said.
“How long will it last?”
My mother gave me a sharp look.
“Well, I’ve got Kylie’s birthday party at three.”
“Lila, I think you should skip the party and stay at the funeral.”
My mouth opened.
“I get it—we’d all rather go to birthday parties than funerals. But frankly, you’re more friendly with Astrid than Kylie now. Plus, going to the funeral shows that you care and you’re willing to give your condolences. I think it would be more polite if you go to the funeral instead.”
I sighed and texted Kylie.
Hey, I can’t go to your party. I’ve got to go to a funeral.
I sent it. A few seconds later, Kylie responded.
Oh, ok. I understand. Sorry to hear.
At least she comprehended me. But maybe my mother had a point. Summer break had just started. So, I’d probably hang out with Kylie another time.