Jessica Contrera: In the days before they buried her, no one knew how not to come undone. Her roommate dropped out of school. Her father kept abruptly needing to leave the room. And her mother, who looked so much like her already, started wearing her daughter’s clothes. In the news and on campus, Rachael Fiege became known as the IU freshman who died at her first college party. The one who never even made it to her first class.
The scene played out in her parents’ minds again and again – Rachael tumbling down the stairs, her friends watching over her through the night, the paramedics trying to save her.
Angi Fiege, her mom, had a recurring nightmare where her daughter was lying on the couch at the party, dying without anyone knowing. Angi saw Rachael struggling to text her for help, trying to say that she wouldn’t make it to morning.
Every time Angi woke, for a fleeting moment, she tricked herself into forgetting. Rachael was just off at school. Maybe today she would call and tell her about dorm food or getting lost on campus.
A second later, Angi would remember.