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Mom texted me this morning. Jeanette died last night.
In her sleep? I asked, hoping. No. She just dropped dead. Up one minute, down and gone the next.
If it's possible to die of stress, she did. Jeanette was a preacher's wife, a mother, a neighbor, devout, but she wasn't much her own self. Sometimes screams would come from her home, and my mom would text me then, too. Mostly fighting with her oldest daughter. Fighting to be heard.
I think of only ever seeing her wear dresses. I think of the wild cats she used to feed from aluminum pie tins and the time her husband stopped their car to chat with the neighbors while she labored in the back seat, giving birth to their youngest daughter. I see her picking glass out of her hair after her car window shattered. I think of the kindness underlying her tired, tired eyes, and I hope she's found some relief.