So, last year was probably the worst year of my life. My mother passed away in October after contracting a disease known as TEN or Toxic epidermal necrolysis. It is so rare (1 in a million) that it is counted as an accident. It was a severe reaction to a medication that manifested as third degree burns over most of her body (both inside and out). It killed her within a week and for much of that, she was in dreadful pain. At the end, she was in an induced coma so we couldn't say goodbye properly. It was a terrible way to die.
My sister, Michelle, was intellectually handicapped. She was not downs but had a mental age of around 7-8. She had lived with Mum and Dad all her life. Like the rest of our family, she watched Mum pass away in horrible circumstances. Three weeks after Mum died, my sister disappeared. We think the passing of Mum hit her harder than we thought. After 5 days of frantic searching through dense bush, she was finally found. She had fallen down a bank into a stream, hit her head and drowned. Thankfully, it would've been quick and we are lucky she was found at all. If she hadn't, we would still cling to some forlorn hope that she was somehow still alive. At least now we have closure.
Afterwards, I took stress leave from work.
The kids in my class wrote me letters of condolence. I think some of them deserve to be shared.
I sent this one to my brother. He was surprised to hear that he'd also passed away. The person lying down is presumably dead but it appears more like a bed than a coffin. Maybe they are having a little nap?
I like how this author has highlighted AND just in case I'd forgotten that both of them had passed away. And to hammer home the point, the author has also added three exclamation marks. In a desperate attempt to soften the blow, they've added a nice flower.
The author here is much more subtle. Rather than dwell on my loss, they've decided to focus on my good points - that is, I am a great football player. Whilst not entirely true, it did make me feel better.
Even at the time, I laughed at these. I'm laughing still.
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.