Since 2001 my life is centered around his birthday in January, his death in March, and Thanksgiving and Christmas without him. Yeah, I know. That’s a long time. Just yesterday really. Trauma has a way of changing the timing and the color of one’s world… forever.
This is March, the month he died, the day I live again and again and again. I suppose I will till the Alzheimer’s kicks in. I remember the last phone conversation we had that day. Oh, why didn’t he work as late as he said he was going to? I would have been home first.
I remember the morning, his last goodbye to me. He always got up really early to drive the truck; then would stop by later in the morning and make sure I was up. Our last phone conversation; he was planning on fixing supper. He had the most gorgeous voice.
The phone call as I was coming home from work. Something was wrong, even though my friend only said to stop by the house before I went home, but I tried not to believe that gut-wrenching premonition. The speedometer reached at least 90; I’m sure faster.
Hearing the words; feeling my heart stop; going into shock. Seeing yet not understanding what all was going on: the police cars, lights, ambulance, people everywhere.
When I saw the ambulance, I started to get out. That’s the ambulance; he’s still here. And hearing the ones protecting me tell me not to go; the medics were trying to keep his blood pressure stable. Okay. That makes sense. He might become agitated. Better not go then. But why aren’t they leaving? Waiting for the Lifeflight that came too late.
All of a sudden we are at the old high school. The helicopter is finally here. And before I can get out of the car, again, I am told to stay in the car, go on to the hospital. Oh, all right. Good. I will be there when he gets there. Only he didn’t.
Driving to the hospital. Surrounded by friends and my daughter. Hearing the phone ring; then hearing the words “Turn around.” I can’t breathe. I have to get out of this car. So I open the door to step out, step out of the fast-moving vehicle on the busy highway, and my friend grabs my arm, to protect me, keep me safe. You let go of me right now! And in her shock, she does. As I open the door, the car is swung off the road and stopped.
I run. I run away from reality. There is a field, with a pond, a cool pond that will take me away, past reality, a place I can run into. Only my daughter stops me, crying, saying she needs me. And I need her. We need each other this night of death.
All these many years later, time gone by, the memories are tattooed on my heart and embedded deep within my brain. Each word said by each person a video popping up to be played year after year. Faces on a collage of memory.
No, time doesn’t heal all wounds.