Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cory's Mom

Sometimes when I tell a story I don't know where to start.  I go back and forth between then and the now hoping to make sense of my tale.  This story is going to skip from 1990 to now and back a few times......I have written about Cory here but this story is about her mom......

Cory and Nicole, two peas in a pod
Fall 1990:  The first time I saw Cory's mom was walking into school.  All I can remember is the slight frame of a girl, waist-length white blond hair, and a shock of red lips.  Add to that a bright red sports car and black leather jacket and I was hoping I had met my new best friend.  She was in my English class, and soon enough, along with my current BFF Jen the three of us became fast friends.  I can;t even remember anymore what we talked about, what we did, but we had fun and laughed and probably disrupted Mrs. Brown's English class all year long.

Today is the one year Anniversary of Cory's death.
 I can tell you that I was in utter shock because I knew that from that point on Cory's mom would never be the same.  No one could utter a word, make a gesture to change, comfort or make sense of what happened.  The next few days were a blur. Constant texts and phone calls. Driving home for the inevitable.  Walking into that wretched funeral home.  Drinking Margaritas with Jen that night trying to steel ourselves for the next day.  The funeral, the worst thing I had ever been through and then to the cemetery.  Nothing and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for that.  Hearing my good friend of 20 years, wailing for her child. I was sure she was going to throw herself into the hole that they had just lowered the casket into.

1992: We were graduated.  We were grown.  W e were women now.  Working women at that.  Cory's mom had moved out with her boyfriend,  A scandalous affair, as her parents highly disapproved of this scruffy young man who showed up and swept their daughter away into a tiny, dingy apartment, in an old decrepit house in an entirely unseemly neighborhood.  Just going there to pick her up for work made me feel like I was doing something dangerous,.  Being around her boyfriend seemed exciting, I mean here she was making a home with this man and I still lived with my parents, no boyfriend to speak of.  I envied her life, I envied her freedom.  I was only slightly alarmed when she would retell some of the more "physical" occurrences that happened between her and Bob and was horrified to have her tell me that he cut one of her dresses to shreds because she had told him she wore that dress on date with another guy before she even knew him, but it didn't matter because he considered that dress "tainted'.  I wished now I had been smart enough to see all the signs, all the bruises.  But at 19 we didn't know any better and what would I have been able to do?  She became pregnant with Cory and gave birth in early 1993 and by then had gotten rid of Bob for the time being.  She had this beautiful little girl and all seemed right with the world.

It's so hard to describe what Cory's death has done to her mom. I understand it.  I get it totally.  People that don't know her and Cory don't.  Jen and I will look at each other or text each other and say the just don't "get it"   The death of your child could rip the heart and soul out of any regular person, but this is different.  All she fought for, all she struggled with came to a screeching halt on the pavement one year ago.

1995-2010  Even though we didn't talk a lot I still kept track of Cory and her mom.  Through Jen, and my mom who saw them all the time since they frequented the grocery store she worked at.  She met a good guy, got married, had Jake and had a great little family.  I had moved away in 1995 and ran into her occasionally, but with the Advent of Facebook we could once again re-connect.  We shared the details of our divorces, the hurt and the pain.  She shared with me how Cory was acting out.  She didn't know what to do because her behaviour was so erratic.  She was hurting herself and had hurt another girl badly, which was unbelievable to me since Cory barely outweighed her mother who may have weighed around 110 pounds soaking wet.  We comforted each other and encouraged and shared.   
She had always been one of the strongest women to me.  Alone with her baby girl at 19, raising her, trying to finish school, and work and take care of Cory.  I admired her tenacity, and only admired her more when Cory was diagnosed with Schizo affective Disorder at 16.  She fought hard for her baby.  She found a voice and strength she never knew she possessed all to make sure Cory got the best care she could possibly get. Although I knew Cory's death would destroy her, I knew it wouldn't defeat her. I was really scared for awhile.  I know she blames herself and I know that part of her wanted to die too, I would have felt the same way, but little by little she is coming back to Nicole.  The woman I have admired and loved as a sister for over 20 years.

 Right now, on the anniversary of Cory's death she is in Italy with her mom. a trip she longed to take with Cory.  I have been keeping track of her on her blog which you can read here      I encourage you to read it, in it's entirety.  It's raw and emotional and you will cry.  You will also laugh and cheer and wish you knew Nicole and would have known Cory and hopefully you will understand her fight and Cory's fight with this horrible illness that held her captive for too long.

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