Clearing Jenny’s room had been difficult on Margaret. Despite knowing that it was time to move on, she still found it difficult to let go of the fact that she wouldn’t see Jenny again. It had been eight months since her passing and she spent most of the day clearing Jenny’s clothes from the room and sitting on the bed reading her diary.
She didn’t know what she was going to do with the clothes. First she thought about giving them to a charity shop but she didn’t want to see another seventeen year old girl in the street wearing Jenny’s clothes. Then she thought about keeping them. Leaving the room as it was like some sort of shrine but she knew that Jenny’s brothers would only get upset every time they passed by Jenny’s door. Finally she decided to put the clothes in the attic till she thought about what she was going to do with them.
If sorting the clothes had been difficult for Margaret she found it even harder to read Jenny’s diary. She felt like she was someone invading another person’s space, an unwelcome visitor. She knew that Jenny had kept a diary. It was Margaret who had told her that it was important for teenagers to record their feelings and thoughts. Jenny had made an entry for every day of the last four years, right up until the day before she died.
All of the entries that Jenny had made were only a few lines long and mostly about what she had done for the day. There was an entry about how she felt on her fourteenth birthday when Margaret had bought her a dog. She had written about how happy she was. Another entry mentioned a boy from school that Jenny liked. Margaret didn’t know him. He wasn’t someone that Jenny had mentioned before but the entry that struck Margaret the most was an entry that Jenny had made a week before she died.
‘Not sure if Mom is doing the right thing with Dad.’
Margaret had spent twenty minutes with the diary in her hand looking at that one entry. When Chris was born, eleven years ago, Peter had moved out telling Margaret that he didn’t love her anymore. She hadn’t heard anything from him until a few months before Jenny died. When he arrived at the house telling Margaret he wanted to get to know the children again. Despite Jenny and her brothers wanting to get to know their father again, Margaret had her reservations about him coming back into their lives. He could leave just as quickly as he had before, causing more pain for the children. She had told him that he wasn’t welcome in their lives and that they had done alright without him.
Jenny had been upset the most. She was the oldest and remembered when her father had left. She had pleaded with Margaret to allow her to meet him but Margaret was steadfast in her decision. When she found that Jenny was meeting him after school, she grounded her for a month but she still found ways of meeting her father. The only contact that Margaret had with him over the last eight months was to call him to let him know that Jenny had died. Even though he went to the funeral Margaret didn’t speak to him but she knew that she had to call him now.
She waited until Thursday to call. She was crying on the phone. She felt that she was betraying herself but also knew that the children had to come first. She told him that he could see the children every Saturday and if things went well, after a while, she would allow him to have them overnight on a Friday as well. Hanging the phone up Margaret didn’t feel any better but she did know that she was doing the right thing. Time and life were too short; Jenny’s diary and her passing had taught her that.