Friday, May 25, 2007

20 Years Ago This Morning

Went to work after a few days off. Rode the bus by myself. Sheena knew it was not going to be a very good day. Mid morning the expected phone call came. It was done. He was gone. Didn't really say all that much. The other people in the cramped little back-office turned silent. Wondered if I should call and cancel that orthodontist appointment later that day.

The accident had happened about a week beforehand. So May 25 was just a date. It's the date we all remember now, two decades later, but it doesn't really mean anything as a date.

The real date was previous Saturday night. May 2-4 weekend and family was scattered around at various events and getaways. The phone rang really late. The conversation made no sense. The next morning we went over to the hospital to see for ourselves. Yep, there he was. In the flesh. Had been about 2 years since I'd seen him last and don't actually recall the last words we exchanged. There was no recognition. The only movement was mechanically timed forced respiration. Sheena asked a few technical questions and then left.

In the days that followed, people returned from their now-cut-short vacations. Out of towners rushed to the bedside. So when the decision was made to pull the plug, everyone knew what was coming. Just took a while to figure out what the date would be.

Sheena kept working after she hung up the phone. Then some asshole from the office brought in a bouquet of flowers. And she went to the ladies can. And cried.


At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe it's 20 years Sheena. I took today off - for a day of reflection.
He would have been proud of us you know. Despite his problems. He had a heart of gold & but it was also that heart that got him in trouble.
I don't think I miss him. I do however miss having the influence in my life for the past 20 years.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger whitenoise said...

Does time heal all wounds or does it just make us numb to the pain?

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Sheena said...

Whitenoise, I think everyone can recall some fundamental life altering turning point that actually changed who you are as a person. More like an amputation than a wound.

At 10:19 AM, Blogger whitenoise said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Sheen. Without knowing the details, it's difficult for me to find the right words to say. I hope today brings you peace and some measure of comfort and acceptance.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Sheena said...

That's the whole dilemma, Whitenoise. Was it really a loss? Can living through devastation actually make someone a better person? Does normal safe stable teenagehood make one a boring person?

At 11:33 AM, Blogger whitenoise said...

I can't really answer your questions. The only signficant trauma in my teenage life was the alcoholism of my mom (and all the messy police visits that included) and my parents' separation.

Then, at 17, we moved into my Dad's girlfriends's house- 3 teenagers and two large dogs. To this day I marvel that she put up with us.

But, that probably doesn't compare with what you went through.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Sheena said...

It fascinates me that most of the genuinely interesting people I know have some weird darkness in their past. And yet so many strive to raise their children in a sheltered antiseptic existence. That's the funny part. It seems like it's the dirt that builds personality and insight and strength.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elvid says...

Sorry Sheena.
This particular date has signifcance for me with a definite before and after aspect to it. Take care.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger CheekierMeSly said...

Indeed. My own amputation is just over 4 years old and it still catches me unawares, kicks my ass, and tears squirt from my eyes as I find myself sobbing. wtf? Time heals all wounds, my ass. Time just allows scabs to grow over until a memory rips the suckers off in one swell foop and makes 'em bleed again.

Or, a friend writes so candidly and honestly that as you read it, your lost limb aches in its absence, a phantom usually reserved for your dreams and your thoughts of the woman he left behind. And you sob quietly, instead.

At 5:26 AM, Anonymous spy said...

Sorry, Sheena. Was this your dad?


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