It's been a month.
Rikki called me that morning because she woke up with me on her mind. It was odd that she started the conversation with, "Are you okay?" Yes, why? She told me that she just woke up and I was on her mind and she needed to check on me. If that isn't God putting me in her heart....well, then I just don't know how to explain it.
I got to work.
Visited with coworkers that I don't see that often anymore.
And then---I tried to log on to the computer. The computers there are just a royal pain in the ass. I was on the phone with IT forever...then it all got situated. Then my phone rang. I answered it, "Hi, Mom. I'm working today, so make it quick."
I'm so glad that I answered that phone. I almost didn't because my day was starting behind schedule as it was.
At that point, all she knew was that the police told her that Allen had been in an accident, and he was taken to ETMC.
My heart sank. The police? I've worked in an ER setting for 10 years. The police & accident are rarely put together with good outcomes, but I prayed that the police involvement was just a formality. I got my purse. Told my boss, and she was the first to hug me. Then I walked out.
I got in the car in the parking garage, and tried & tried to reach my dad.
By now, I was headed toward the freeway, but I wasn't too far from Dad's house. I pulled over & was pulling up ETMC on the navigation system and called Mom again. She didn't know anything yet, but was there at ETMC in a room with the Chaplain.
That's when I knew. It was bad. The Chaplain?
I called my dad again. No answer. Just voicemail.
I called his wife's phone. Her chipper voice was grating, but she didn't know. "Wake him up!" I told Dad, and continued toward the freeway.
In between all of that I called my husband somewhere in there. "Don't speed. Be careful."
Calls, back & forth, between my mom, my dad, my husband, and I don't know who else.
I cried, I prayed, I drove.
And then, I called my mother once more for an update. One of the ER physicians answered. I composed myself and relayed that given the fact that I'd been informed that this was a trauma, and ETMC doesn't have a pediatric ICU to the best of my knowledge, I'd prefer that he be transferred to Children's in Dallas (thinking: I'll call Susan next; if it's that bad, they will fly him there, she can meet the helicopter. She's smart, and she loves me, and she loved him. She'll do anything to help me. She'll keep me informed. She'll make sure they save him), because we have family in Dallas, and that will be easier on the family. (If that's the case, I'll turn around right now. I'll head to Children's, and it I get there first, I'll just wait for him.) "Unfortunately, for him to transfer, he would need to be in stable condition. He isn't currently stable enough for a transfer." He continued to speak. I cried. I know what that means. His blood pressure is too low. His pulse is too low. He's too critical. And then that doctor continued to tell me that his injuries are incompatable with life, he's no longer responding to life sustaining measures, and that he showed no signs of independent life other than a few respirations over the ventilator. He'd had several rounds of CPR, but was no longer responding to the drugs they were administering. They were giving him blood in an effort to keep him "alive" until my sister got to the ER. All I could do was cry, and beg. "Please don't let him die alone." I told him that I know that CPR can be ugly when you're a family member, but I begged him to just let my mother stay there with him so that Allen wouldn't die alone. He said that he would.
And then I pulled over because I couldn't see the road through the tears.
That lasted about 2 minutes and then I was back on the freeway to get to him, and to get to my mother. Dad was on his way.
At 10:33 I got a weird feeling. A 'look at the clock' feeling, and Sweet Child O Mine by Guns & Roses came on the radio. How random, I know. But---that song has made me think of Allen for years! Again---random. I know. He's got eyes of the bluest sky....his hair reminds me of a warm safe place.... For anyone who was around Allen as a toddler.....oh my goodness. His eyes were big & blue. His head was covered with the softest white-golden curls. He was precious. A beautiful, beautiful little cherub-looking thing. The rest of the words of the song...whatever. But those lines have always made me think of him, and at 10:33, I looked at my clock, and just kind of asked God, "Is it happening now?"
I called my mom again. She didn't answer.
I selfishly wanted her to, because I needed to say, "Baptize him. Make sure he's baptized."
So after a few minutes, I texted her.
I texted my step-dad.
And I prayed.
Mom called a bit later. I asked if he died.
"Don't ask me that." I asked again. "Don't ask me that."
So, I knew.
I learned later that Allen was pronounced at 10:37am.
When I got to the hospital---the parking there just sucks.
I pulled up to the ER. Told to move my car by Head-JackAss-The-Security-Guard. I handed him my key and almost told him to "Just Tow It." But, instead I told him the situation and why I felt it so important to get inside. He didn't care. I knew it in my heart that Allen was already gone, so I refrained from clawing his eyeballs out and moved my car to the lot next to the ER. Guess what---you can't park there either. So, I turned around and headed to a garage that seemed light years away from the ER entrance. To be a big trauma center, their parking situation sucks. I think every ER everywhere should have valet. Complimentary valet! ...but that's a rant for a different day.
When I got inside, I was taken to the family room where I met with my mother and the chaplain. Then other family came in. Finally we were able to see Allen, and I didn't ever want to leave. I didn't want to leave that room. I felt this need to see his body. His whole body. Well...most of it. I just needed to see him. I needed to see it to believe it, and to hold his cold hand, to just know that it was true.
...and it was true.
And now it's been a month.
A whole month without him.
Tonight at 7, they are having a memorial bike ride in Tyler in his honor, as a "fallen bicyclist." They are meeting at TJC and I think they will cycle to scene of accident, where there has been a "ghost bike" erected. From what I've been told, it's a ritual in the bicyclist community to do such a thing in honor of a fellow cyclist.
Even that hurts. It hurts that he was biking 3.9 miles to school from my sister's house. It hurts that he didn't have a helmet. It hurts that this even has to be real....that it ever even happened. I just hate it. I hate every thing about it.
At the visitation before the funeral, I was walking around looking at all of the flowers. There were so many flowers, and everyone was so generous, and they were so beautiful. Then I just got this wave of nausea that they were there: all of these fucking flowers are because he is dead. I don't want to see them. I don't want to smell them. I don't want them to be. They are only here because Allen is dead, and want to trade them all in for life. (As if I could. As if it were that easy.) Then I started thinking that about all of the people that were there. Who are all of these people? I didn't want to know, and I didn't want to meet half of them.
Then I checked myself, and mentally regrouped, and was grateful. The flowers were abundant, thoughful, and beautiful. The visitors were also mourning, and showing us just how much Allen was loved and will be missed. How dare I be ungrateful? But underneath it all, I was just not wanting the situation of Allen's death to be real.
So here I am.
One month later.
We are all still standing.
And daily, I remind myself of something said at Riley's funeral: "....live the kind of life that will get you to where he is."
I'm trying. Right now, the Lord is not asking, but commanding me to forgive, to love, and not to judge. That's what I'm struggling with. When I say that I can't fit this anger into my belief system, it's because I'm so very angry, and finding it very hard to do what God is not asking of me, but commanding of me.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: when I get to Heaven, I have so MANY questions.