photo courtesy of visboo - beautiful examples of animal love
On days when my sorrow feels too heavy, I go to bed early. But my dreams do not grant me the escape that I need...
I am on the operating table. My surgery is complete. My chest is bandaged tightly. My breathing tube is out. The doctors have left the room. One nurse remains. She is busy putting instruments away. Her back is to me. Her phone rings. She takes the call.
She is laughing.
She does not see that I am choking on my own vomit.
I travel upward. It's a fast flight forward through space and time. I look back and see the paddles pressed against my chest. My body jumps from the jolt. I look forward and see my son. Beside him is my father.
"Go back!" they yell.
They won't let me touch them. I move forward and they step back.
"Go back!" they yell louder.
Without speaking I tell them I don't want to go back.
"Lindsay (my daughter) needs you!" shouts my son.
She barely tolerates me, I tell him (without speaking).
"Mark loves you," says my father.
He will find another, I tell him (without speaking).
"JACKSON!!!" screams my son.
Jackson (my grandson)... I think about Jackson. He is young, only 10. My daughter is 21. My husband is a man. Jackson... can I leave Jackson?
He'll be fine, I tell him (without speaking). You said so yourself in the letter you wrote to him ...
I am writing this to you on the tenth day of your life, the tenth day since you entered this world of ours, the tenth day since you brought the sun and so many smiles. It's also my first full day and night away from you, but I'd rather not think about that right now. I was forced to leave Wilkes-Barre and come back to work in Greenwich again, just as I have throughout your Mother's pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
Because of work, because I somehow transformed into a somewhat "responsible" human without my noticing, I was not by your Mother nearly enough throughout her pregnancy because I believed establishing a financial foundation was the responsible thing to do for your future. The "truth" remains to be seen, though I doubt the phrase should even be used in a matter so conflicting in its nature as to combat love against logistics. It's an argument I will never win for either side of my brain, and I really have no idea how things will end up, or where we will all end up. The fact is that your Mother acted so truly brave the last nine months, never complaining, always smiling like the beautiful angel she is. She has become my hero, and if things go as I hope she will be my wife very soon. I love your Mother with all of my heart. We are both lucky to have her.
Your future is infinite, so purely and clearly infinite. I had always hoped and believed that when I finally had my first child I would have some important piece of wisdom to be able to give you, some magical answer I would stumble upon at some point that would be passed on to you eventually. But I have nothing like that to give you. Life is not like that. There is no simple answer or magical secret. The only conclusion I have come to in my life is to live. It's something we often forget. But live, Jackson. I once told your Mother to live and burn, and that is also what I hope for you. May stars fall gently upon the sea you choose to sail, my son.
P.S. Read!!! Read everything you can get your hands on. And remember what Mark Twain said..."Man is a fool, but woman, for putting up with him, is a damned fool." That means always treat your Mom like the queen she is, and remember that we are inferior to women because no man has ever been able to even slightly comprehend any woman that has ever lived.
"You haven't learned your lessons!" shouts my father.
I hate it when my father shouts.
"You'll have to come back and do them all over again."
What lessons? I ask.
No one is speaking.
What lessons!!! I shout.
Dammit... I so don't want to repeat the self loathing, the self doubt, the clueless, selfish, fear driven suffering.
I go back.
I go back.
I am on the operating table. My eyes are open. The light above me is bright. The room is full of people - doctors, nurses, rushing. Everyone is rushing. My husband is in the corner, crying.
I am not breathing.
My heart is not beating.
My skin grows cold. Cold and gray.
It is too late.
Happy Valentines Day