May 21, 2016 was an overcast, rainy day. I met a friend for coffee that day around noon. Sheets of water pouring from the gloomy, low clouds, which made it feel later in the day than it was. I recall thinking how it felt like a spring afternoon in Seattle, rather than the perennially sunny Spokane, where you wear your sunglasses year-round regardless of the temperature.
My daughter had gone out to breakfast with a friend that morning, and then out to coffee with another friend. We shared a brief text exchange about her plans, a titillating debate about sandwiches versus shrimp cocktail, and the inherent superiority of shrimp cocktail because it has fewer calories than sandwiches. You probably had to be there to get why that’s funny.
The last thing she texted me was that she was on her way home. By that time, I was home and had crawled into bed because I was feeling sick. It was maybe two or three in the afternoon. I ate shrimp cocktail, anyway. Rachel hovered in the doorway of my bedroom after she arrived like she had something on her mind. But, instead said very little.
I was wiped out from law school, which I’d graduated from two weeks prior. My mind was on the bar exam, which I was supposed to start studying for in the next couple of days, and trying to find a job. I have a natural inclination to fear failure, so naturally, I took the Bar Prep course offered during my last semester of law school. Which, incidentally, pounds the terror of bar exam failure deeper than it was before.
I was mired down in an expansive sea of self-doubt, exhaustion, and fear. So deep I didn’t see her flailing. I didn’t see the signs. I didn’t see that she was dying. I didn’t see that she was saying goodbye and wasn’t asking for help. She was saying goodbye.
And her soul was like shattered glass, pieces everywhere.