I find it strange that this is a day of celebration for someone out there. This is someone's birthday, someone's anniversary. This is the day that forever changed me. The person I was before then no longer exists. In some ways this is a good thing. I no longer have heart palpitations when my son runs a fever. My road rage has lessened. I forgive the rude lady in the line at the grocery store with ease. Her brother is probably recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
The wind was loud that night. Howling is a term often used.To most this is an unsettling sound, an eerie
foreshadowing as it rattles their windows.But since that day, I am
no longer afraid of it.Since that day
I can hear its message much more clearly.
“Tell them you love them…” it whispers.“Forget the laundry...have you told them
I distinctly remember feeling defeated, all day
actually.I remember minor things, like wearing a dress to work.I remember being exhausted.I kept wondering, “What’s wrong with
me?”There was absolutely nothing to be
sad about, looking back.The universe is
funny that way, always trying to tell you. Always watching.
I came home from work at a normal enough time.Frankie was napping and my mother left.Little did I know this would be the very last
time she would watch my son while I worked.For three years it had been the two of them together.April 10, 2013…the very last time.
Mike arrived home and told me I looked tired.I told him I was.It is difficult to explain, how I felt that
day.It was not a premonition, but a feeling
of immense dread. Impending doom perhaps?I went to bed at 7:30, which is highly abnormal.Something about the day had worn me out
physically, mentally.I had to start
over.I remember hearing the sirens
around then.I remember the windows were
I got out of bed about forty minutes later and listened to
the news.There had been a tornado in
Hazelwood…near school.I thought of my
students, and of my family and called my mother.“Everyone’s okay,” she assured me.Bobby’s plane had landed and he was en route home, Mary and the kids had
gotten into the basement.Their house
had sustained some damage but all were okay.Everyone was home except for you.You had left about ten minutes before I called…right after the sirens
had stopped.Mom assured me you were sitting
in traffic on 170 due to some downed power lines.Everyone was okay.I went back to bed.Impending doom.
At 11:19 I heard Mike’s phone on the desk, a whisper of a
ring.Half asleep I wondered what time
it was, but nothing registered yet.I picked up my phone from the nightstand,
still on silent from work.
Two missed calls.Bobby.
I shot up, noting the time and realizing something must be wrong.I yelled for Mike to answer his phone, which
was now ringing again. He got up to answer, and I could tell from his voice
that it was not good news.
I don’t remember the following moments with much
clarity.I began to get dressed as Mike
asked my brother what hospital.As I found my gray sweatpants in the dark, I
asked him to tell me what had happened. It was then that I started to hyperventilate. I asked Mike not to say anything yet.I thought, in my panicked state, that this delay would buy me some
time. Time for someone to take this back, whatever this horrible thing was
looming in our bedroom.I knew something
was about to change our lives forever.
Mike hung up the phone, and after a few seconds I said I was ready. I remember
hearing your name, and the words “critical condition”.Mom called me as I was putting on my
boots.She was on her way to the
hospital, and explained that you had been found underneath an overpass.I immediately pictured you getting out of
your car and being hit.She told me you had
fallen.I asked if you were found breathing, and she said yes. You never had to be resuscitated...the only piece of good news I would
cling to for weeks.
I told Mike to stay with Frank, as I stumbled into his room
to search for my sweatshirt.My sweet
baby boy was asleep in his bed, oblivious to his mommy’s world unraveling
before her.I bent down to kiss his
forehead and began to weep, only for a brief second.Then I hurried out the door.
The car ride was something surreal.The skies seemed so calm, almost taunting me
as I drove to you.I followed the speed limit,
stopping only to vomit as I turned off our street.I cannot explain the calmness that came
over me after that.I pictured you
driving just hours before.I wondered
what time you had been hurt, and what I had been dreaming about at that moment.
I didn’t think about much on my drive, but could only imagine
that your fall had made you unrecognizable to us. I
mentally prepared myself for that. I
didn’t anticipate how unrecognizable my entire world was about to become.