Saturday, April 16, 2016


I love April. It's probably my favorite month. Everything starts blooming and the weather gets warmer. I can remember years ago when I got my first pair of glasses and rode around in awe looking at the flowers and trees that were in bloom. I hadn't realized how blind I was until then. 

Only one thing mars the beauty of the month. This is the month that my dear cousin, Donna, died unexpectedly 36 years ago. She was only 20 years old. I wonder what she would have been like if she was alive today. She was funny, and cute, and a great friend. We grew up together so she was almost like a sister to me. 

Donna was also very stubborn. She got mad at me one time and wouldn't talk to me. I can't remember what she was mad about but if she was around I'm sure she would remember. We lived near my grandmother's house and I would see Donna out there. She acted like I didn't exist. It really hurt my feelings and made me sad. I begged my grandmother to talk to Donna and get her to forgive me (for what I don't know) and talk to me again. Thankfully, she listened to Beulah and forgave me and we became fast friends again. 

I don't know what I would have done if she had been mad at me when she died. I don't get over things easily. Neither did she.

She was mad at her mother before she died but my aunt told me that Donna forgave her. I don't know if that was true or not because I talked to Donna on the Sunday before she died and she told me she was never going to trust her mother again. She found out her mother had been seeing her ex-husband but lied about it. Donna didn't like David. 

Donna never forgave people for lying to her. She dropped several friends she grew up with for lying to her and not taking her to Florida on vacation one year. 

After Donna died we talked about her all the time and tried to piece her last few days together. I found out her husband had been seeing another woman who had been calling Donna's house to talk to him. Donna said she could hear a baby crying in the background. She thought it was her husband's baby by the other woman.

He was a notorious liar and told some outrageous tales. He had her convinced I was chasing after him and drove a wedge between us. She should have known I wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole. He was young and ignorant and wanted to keep Donna away from everyone who would support her. After she died, he and his sister went to an attorney to try to get Donna's house. He also told Donna's mother that some woman was chasing him at work. He had the nerve to say that people were teasing him and would clap their hands every time he walked by. I didn't understand what she meant until she told me that he meant the guys at work were accusing him of catching the clap from that woman. He was nasty.

He told so many lies that we never did know what really happened to Donna. He said some nasty things about when the detectives interrogated him. He was one of the most disgusting people I've ever known and I can't understand why Donna put up with him. I think he played on her sympathies because he lost his father when he was young and Donna lost her father when she was little, too. She got in over her head before she realized what he was really like and never had a chance to get out of the situation.

We always wondered if he had something to do with Donna's death. There never were any definitive answers for why she died. She died in her bed and was supposedly asleep when she started convulsing and bucking in bed. Her husband said he straddled her and held her down instead of getting up and turning on the light. He didn't even call an ambulance. He called my grandmother and said Donna was dead. She ran out to my mother's house and knocked on the door. 

Momma was sitting in the den, waking up, getting ready to go to work. She said she heard Beulah moaning and yelling "Open the door. Donna's dead!"

Momma hollered for Daddy to wake up; Donna was dead. She said Daddy jumped out of bed and rushed to Donna's house before she and Beulah even got there. Donna was laying on the bed, in her jeans and shirt. Daddy leaned over her and started doing CPR on her. Momma said she was on one side of Donna's bed, rubbing her hand and calling her to wake up. She said Donna was already cold. Daddy told me later on that Donna's jaw popped when he tried to open it. He thought she had been dead for a while.

That was the most devastating and tragic thing our family had ever gone through. Donna's daddy died in a trucking accident when she was a baby and our family reeled for years from that death. Donna's death would take decades to recover from. Actually, we never completely recovered from her death. Our family split and turned against each other and has never recovered. If anybody had told me our family would have disintegrated like we did, I would never have believed them. We used to be so close I thought we were invincible. I wouldn't wish that pain on anybody.

Sanna, Patricia, Susie, Debbie, Aja, Allen, and Kathy


Jason and Hanna, Myra and Noodie, Ann and Jim

Beulah Burchfield, Henry Cornwell, and Donna Shoates

Tax Time


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