To this day, Susan regrets not seeing her daughter and hugging her goodbye before leaving for dinner on the night of February 17, 2018. She had no way of knowing that the next time she saw her, Brittany would be in the medical examiner’s office, already pronounced dead.

The Devastating News

Susan can’t remember if she shouted, cried, or fainted when her sister came over, woke her from sleep, and told her that Brittany was ‘gone.’ She immediately looked over the open door of her beloved daughter’s room and tried to see a silhouette that would prove that Brittany was alive and her sister was mistaken.

It just couldn’t be right. It couldn’t be her daughter they were talking about. Her Brittany couldn’t be the girl they had just found dead. They must have her confused with another girl. It could be some other girl named Brittany. She kept waiting to see if her sister would suddenly tell her that it was a prank or if Brittany would jump from behind the sofa, but nothing happened. She actually lost her daughter.

The Visit to the Coroner’s Office

In a daze, she got up and followed Chris (her husband) to visit the coroner’s office and identify their baby girl. Someone told Susan how the EMTs tried reviving Brittany, and then the doctors did the same at the hospital, but it wasn’t until days after Brittany’s passing that Susan understood any of the things people were saying to her.

Funeral Arrangements

There were calls and arrangements to be made and condolences to be accepted, but all Susan could do on her own was breathe. But that was not a conscious effort. With everyone telling her that she had to inform family and friends of Brittany’s death and funeral, Susan made a public post on Facebook, and that was all.

Seeing the news of Brittany’s passing, written in words, made the realization even more painful that she would not be accompanying her daughter on their annual trips around the country. She would no longer hear her unique take on things, see her laugh, grow up, get married, and have kids of her own. No. That chapter was closed. That part of life was no more. Her daughter was no more.

The Blessings of Having a Supportive Family

Susan’s family took the responsibility of making calls to everyone. Her dad and other sister’s family flew in, and everyone pitched in with the arrangements. She was grateful to everyone who realized she was in no condition to do anything independently, and they automatically assumed their roles and helped organize the funeral.

The Funeral

On the awful day Susan had to say her final goodbyes, she couldn’t move away from Brittany. A 21-year-old in a casket. Was it even comprehensible? That’s not how things are supposed to happen. Parents don’t see their young children off to heaven and await their turn. That’s just not normal. She kept thinking that while looking at Brittany.

Roses surrounded her, and her golden curls framed her beautiful face. Anyone who saw her could tell she was finally at peace after battling her inner demons for so long. Susan’s heart broke even further when her husband, Chris, leaned over Brittany’s casket and said, “Goodbye, little lamb.” That was her childhood nickname, and Chris had given it to her.

Goodbye – Till we Meet Again

Susan didn’t know it then, but it wasn’t the last time she would be seeing her daughter. Brittany was going to find a way to reconnect with her, and had she known it back then, it might have made the first week after Brittany’s death slightly more bearable.

Read more about how Brittany still finds ways to send Susan messages and signs of her presence in the book “The Scent Of Roses” by Susan Young Oskey.