He sits on a park bench while the rain pours down. He stares blankly at the emptiness of the darkness before him. The rain serves as the tears he is to numb to shed. The rain flows like blood from the open wound in his chest. His heart has been ripped from his chest, crushed beyond recognition, and shoved back into the gaping hole with no delicacy.
The rain – freezing rain covers him … drowning him … shrouding him in despair. He is too numb to notice. Life has been taken from him… joy yanked from his life… happiness blotted out of his sight. His hands hang down … open … weak. He could not hold on. He could not protect. He could not save. He could not be the man she needed him to be.
If this was all, it was still too much. He still has to tell the boy. He has to tell his son. He has to tell his son his mother is dead.
He had not noticed the rain stopped. He never really noticed it ever started. A car stops in front of him. The boy steps out. The joy on his face cuts like a deep paper cut. The sting is extreme.
The boy is joyful to tell of his adventures at camp. To tell of the things of his day. They walk inside. They stop at the table in the abandon room. They sit. The boy is full of stories of his day at camp. The pain builds deep inside the man’s chest. The boy shows his father 3 bands and 3 clips. One of each for him, his father and his mother. The dull blade pushed deeper into the man’s chest.
The boy asked about his mother. The silence of the space is deafening. The large room has grown to unimaginable size. The air is heavy. The room is cold. The pressure builds inside the man’s chest.
“Mommie was very sick. The doctors tried and tried to do everything they could to help her.”
The dull knife in his chest is turning … twisting … further damaging what is left of his heart.
“Mommie went to sleep. And she did not wake up.”
This was far worse pain. This was beyond explanation. The look of realization of the boy’s face was the final blow. The indescribable grief on the boy’s face was excruciating.
They held each other so tightly; they could have crushed a thousand bricks.
The man sat there … holding his son. He could not save his wife. He could not protect his son from this grief. He sat there … having had to let go of his wife just an hour before … now he just shattered his son’s world with this news. He sat there feeling emotions he could not even name. He held his son tightly in his arms, afraid to let him go. He lost his wife and feared of losing his son.
Despair was what held the man. Despair and his son.
“Do you want to see her,” the man asked the boy. “Yes” was his only reply.
The walk to the elevator, the ride up was a blur. He pushed the button … they let him and the boy come into the ward. The ward was cold and silent. The staff was somber, respectful. Death is something they knew all too well in their work. How can they do it, the man wondered as he walked by.
The room was made ready. The man followed the boy into the room.
There she lay. Still and cold and pale. That was not her. It was a cheap replica of his lovely wife. She is the most beautiful woman in the world. This could not possibly be her. There is no way this could be her. This is someone’s sick, twisted joke. This joke must end now!
The boy, his son, their son, pulls him to reality … asking why they have tape on her eye lids. He always did notice the little things and asked the questions that were blunt and deep.
He asked many questions about how she looked, and what happened. You see, it was a joke between the man and his wife … the boy, their son, would asked deep and difficult questions about life. He would most often ask his mother as they were driving down the road. It was a joke, you see, because she would often say to the man, “why can’t you get a hard question now and then?”. The man sat there holding his son beside the bed … laughing on the inside. He could hear his wife’s words. He said, in a whisper, as the boy continued to ask things … “I guess it’s my turn now.”
The boy, their son, stood there … with his father holding him … talking. He was just almost 3 weeks shy of being eleven years old. He began to speak the story of salvation. He spoke of the power of Salvation, the power of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
You see, an important thing happened 2 months prior. This young life, this boy, their son, gave his heart to God. He was saved. He was baptized on a special day. A church picnic, with others being baptized. It was the man, his father, who had the blessing of baptizing the boy, their son. You see, the sweet woman left this world with the knowledge of her son’s salvation.
As the boy, their son, talked with such clarity and preciseness about salivation and the comfort in knowing his mother was no longer in pain, the man, his father, was glowing. The man looked at the body of his bride, with a very huge, proud smile on his face … he mouthed the words “That’s our son.”
No, it did not rain that night. No, there was no park bench. There was only a hospital parking lot curb. It was a cold October night. The feelings, the pain, the despair was very real. There are no words that could adequately express the feelings of that night. There is no way to convey the feeling deep inside my chest. Yes, my chest. Yes, I am “that man”. I am the husband, the father of these words.
That night, I did two of the most difficult things of my life. I had to let go of my dear sweet wonderful wife. I then had to tell our amazing son she was gone.
I wish no one that pain. I wish no one would ever have to face something like this again. However, I am not foolish enough to think it will not happen to someone every again. I know it has happened many times since that night. Do I still fight with despair? Certainly. Do I still struggle with the emptiness deep inside my chest? Yes, every single day. Is this the end of the story? No. This is just the beginning of a new volume in the collection. Is there hope? Yes. There is always hope. Do I always feel the hope? No, it would be ridiculous for me to deny the feelings of hopelessness that dance around me.
Each day is a new day. Each day is a new day with new struggles, challenges and journeys. Some days are good days. Some days are not good days. Some days are downright horrible days.
My son, that boy, he is the reason I live. He is the reason I “Press On” each new day. Will I stumble? Of course I will, I am human.
… this transmission is to be continued at a later date …