Sarah’s uncle telephoned in the morning with the news but was so distraught Sarah had difficulty understanding him. Told he would call again later when he knew more and had more things arranged, Sarah tried to remain calm—her mother was gone—while thinking through preparations for going to Louisiana for the funeral. She finished a stack of patient progress reports as the day wore on and that night was cooking stir fry and checking the television listings for something to divert her thoughts when her uncle called again. The receiver under her chin, she had trouble following his rambling sentences—especially after being informed in a cracking voice that her mother had taken a swan dive from a bridge in San Francisco.
“And she wanted me as a pallbearer?”
“Yes,” Billy Wayne told her. “She left instructions how things should be carried out.”
“And you’re telling me the funeral is at an old bar in Louisiana?”
“No, no. The request is for the pallbearers to meet there prior to the funeral.”
“If you weren’t my uncle I would think this a joke. My mother is really dead, right?”