We make it to the hospital. Standing in the entry way was our pastor, bible in hand. He knew my son. He baptized him, he counseled him, he loved him. I see pain in his face. He tries to hide it. He wraps his arms around me. I cry harder. I know he tried to give me words of comfort, but I don’t recall what he said except to lean on my faith. He knows my faith is strong. ….. My faith WAS strong…a million years ago
He holds my right hand, my husband the other. We begin the walk. I recall seeing kids running around, the smell of burnt coffee and disinfectant. A security officer walked past us. He looked at me…I looked back. A sad smile crossed his face. Does he know??? Is this a familiar scene he has witnessed much too often???
My ex husband had called and told us they were no longer in the family grieving room. My son was being moved to a viewing room. “We are in the lobby…waiting for you guys.” We turned the corner and I saw them. They saw us…they saw me. My brother quickly walked up to me to hug me. I remember a wail…a sound I had never heard before…a sound of grief, pain, heartache…it was coming from me. I stated pounding my fists into his chest. “YOU’RE LYING!!! YOU’RE LYING!!! NOT MY JOEY!!! PLEASE TELL ME YOU’RE LYING AND THIS ISN’T HAPPENING”!!!! He holds me tight. It’s true. “NO!!!” I hear that sound again. I fall to the ground. He doesn’t let go. People gather around me. I hear people around me crying. see people holding each other. I see my sister-in-law throw her hands to her face, trying to stifle her own cries. Almost everyone is there. My kids and their significant others, some cousins, my son’s best friend, nieces and nephews, my ex and his wife. Their faces are red, swollen from crying. Sadness and pain is everywhere. Whispers engulf me. My children hang on to me. I hold them and tell them I love them and that it will be OK. I look into their faces. I see their brother. I feel sick. God help me!! Everyone looks so much older. Grief is harsh, unrelenting, a youth bandit, its unmerciful, its evil.
Joey’s girlfriend stands in a corner. She is clutching his belongings that someone put into a plastic bag. His shirt is ripped from where the paramedics cut it off of him in an attempt to save his life. I manage to get to my feet. I walk to her. She clings to me. Her body limp. The love of her life was gone. I put gently cup her face with my hands. Her beautiful flawless face was gone. Instead, there was loneliness, guilt, pain, disbelief. I tell her I love her. Her face gets sadder. She cries harder…. I HATE GRIEF!
What happened?? Someone tell me what happened but DON’T give me details. Give me only as much as I can handle. I heard ” going home after gym, eating MacDonald, laughing, making fun of her because she mispronounced a word, seizure, screaming, pulling over, CPR, a nurse driving by, helping with CPR, couldn’t get a hold of his dad, called his sister”. His sister…baby sister…my baby girl. She had just got engaged 3 months before. How could she handle going from pure bliss to horrific grief. Her dad was working overtime. He was in his patrol car when my daughter called him. He beat the ambulance to the hospital. He was there as the gurney quickly raced by him. He heard code blue. He told the nurse that was his son. The nurses face went white. She knew officer Joe but he was never on this side of that invisible line no one wants to cross. Doctors came in to the waiting room to tell him they were working on him. “Do everything you need to.” His captain, lieutenant, fellow officers started arriving. He told them that as soon as the doctors had him stabilized, he would go home to change out of his uniform and he was prepared to sit by his bedside as long as he needed to. Of course, they said! The doctor returned, this time though, not alone. “I’m sorry. Nothing we could do.” It was too late.
No more details…that’s all I can handle.