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As I walked in the door, the phone started to ring. I didn’t think much of it, we get telemarketers regularly. I went about my normal routine, making a pot of coffee, feeding the dog, getting ready to sit down and relax. It had been a long day, and I was looking forward to settling into the comfort of our love seat, being surrounded by the dogs and their unusual form of affection. When I came into the living room though, my wife was crying.
“What’s wrong?” as I walked over to hug her, she was still holding the phone, cradled in her hands.
“N-M has been in an accident, a roll over and she was ejected. They are flying her to the hospital. The doctors told B-A that it doesn’t look good.”
My heart sank, I felt myself going to one of the darkest most murky places I have ever experienced. From some where, I felt a familiar Umbra, and heard it whisper words of my father in my ear. “Calm yourself, be still, be strong, show no emotion, give away no weakness”. I felt myself transforming into that stoic, still person capable of showing no emotion outwardly. I told myself I needed to be strong for everyone else, and not show anything. I made the phone calls I had to make, notifying all the family, as if I were a robot or some machine. I texted my sister, because I didn’t trust my voice to talk to her. I supported and hugged my wife reassuring her everything was going to be fine even though I had no idea myself.
The wait was torturous. N-M is living with my Daughter B-A up in Nevada, might as well be millions of miles away. B-A was at the hospital, waiting to hear from the doctors, then she would call us. I waited for hours, my mind playing games with me, my body not revealing any of the hidden fear, dread, and foreboding coursing through me. The many different scenarios playing against each other, and tugging at that little shred of sanity left dangling by a thin thread somewhere in my mind. “Ejected”, the word paints a very unpleasant picture in ones mind.
My mind started traveling, going back though time, playing back those memories as if they were old home movies. We had raised N-M for 13 of her 17 troubled years. Her mother, my wife’s sister, choosing selfish desires over her daughter, her father always making, but never keeping promises. Trying to reunite her and her mother on three separate occasions only to have it blow up in our face. The time we brought her down to meet her father who promised to be here. Me drying the tears away from that precious face, and cradling that poor shattered soul when he didn’t show up. If there had ever been a time I could have killed, it was then. Remembering N-M’s 2nd birthday, her first with us, and how badly we had spoiled her. Thinking of the times she had helped me work on cars in the garage, and the joy in her face. Recalling those nights, every night, when she was young and I would read to her as she laid down for sleep. My pride when she started reading to me. The early morning dew on the ground as she took aim, and shot her first buck. I don’t know who was more excited, her or I. All of this playing though my head, while outwardly, I let absolutely nothing escape to be seen by anyone.
The long torturous stillness of waiting, having no control, being able to DO nothing. I felt surely I was going mad, but refused to show any concern or worry. I wonder how people manage, how they deal with the not knowing.
Finally the phone rings, almost 3 hours later. “She’s OK, no internal injuries or even broken bones. She does have a concussion, and her hand has been skinned, literally, but she’s OK” B-A said. I hugged my wife and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I suddenly felt completely drained, used up, consumed, weak. Still not allowing anything to show, I snuck off to the other room and fell apart where no one could see. How is it possible to hold so much love for one person.
She was driving, and had been drinking (2 strikes) she’s only 17 (3 strikes) I never said she was an angel, but she is my Pumpkin. I’m just so thankful I still have her even if she is not here beside me.