(Part 3 of 3)
Sunday, A month later:
The cream-colored adobe bungalow housing people who need help with self-care sits in the afternoon shade of a large Mesquite. I walk past the tree and a cactus collection toward the front door. It’s taken me a few wrong turns to find this place, tucked into the side of a majestic Phoenix mountain. I climb the stairs to the porch and a small, pleasant woman nods and invites me in. I announce I’m here to visit Samantha.
From the front hall, I see you, sitting in an alcove by the family room, staring out the window. You look over, stand and come toward me. I say, “Hi, Sam. How are you?”
You smile, shyly, and I think wistfully of the bouncy Sam I knew, with her broad grins and exuberant greetings.
You appear to recognize me. You say “hello” but you don’t call me by name. Are you afraid to ask because you think you should remember it?
When I tell you I’ve written about our last visit, you say you’d like to see what I wrote. You say you’d like to know how far you’ve come in the last few months, since the crash.
I ask you about your children. Your shoulders droop and you lower your eyes. I hear a plaintive note in your voice. They live with your ex-husband. You worry about them. You say, “When they’re with their father, they smile and act happy. When they come to me, they’re sad and cry, let it all out.”
I say, “Yep, feminine energy. They feel safe with you.” We smile together.
You nod, look down at your hands, then gaze out the window, as if remembering a place far away, a time long gone. You say, “I need to get better so I can take care of them.” You clench your fist. “They need me.”
I tell Sam, “You’re much better now. A couple of months ago you were in a coma. You’ve come a long way.”
I wonder to myself if you know about your boy. They didn’t want to tell you until you could understand and speak from your grief. Your baby, precious child, is gone. Killed instantly in the crash. A life snuffed out at a tender age. You’d raved about him. A perceptive and insightful child, who understood much more than he could ever express. You knew I’d helped such children.
I think back to my own boy, and remember when he was little and vulnerable. When a friend’s child died, I hugged my son and held him close. He’s a grown man now, married with a child.
The loss of a child. The wound may never heal. He didn’t stay long. He’ll never see the morning sun come up, hear birds chirping or make his mark upon the world.
Your speech is coherent, like before the crash. But your sentences are shorter. You pour out a stream of thoughts. It’s as if your worries are listed on a tablet in your head and someone has held a mirror up to the list. You worry about your children. You want to be there for them. You sigh. You know you must get better. It’s your imperative.
Still missing — your special brand of joie de vivre, self-assurance, knowingness. Best of all, the twinkle in your eye, your ready wit and facile speech.
I’m so glad you’re back, Sam. I pray for those missing parts of you to return.
Speak From Your Heart and Be Heard: Stories of Courage and Healing is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle and some independent bookstores.