Friday, September 21, 2018

Rearview Mirror - a short story

The song plays on the radio station. The one that makes you sing out loud and want to roll down the windows and feel the wind in your hair. She smiles as the chorus approaches. She loves emphasizing the word “STOP” in the latest Cardi B song. She briefly looks in the rearview mirror, and she sees the empty car seat. Her thoughts fade to her kids. It was 7:42 a.m. and they are likely walking into their classes to pledge to the flag. She wondered if her son would remember to bring home his P.E. clothes forgotten in his gym locker. They are likely growing a science experiment by now, she thought. She says, "gross" out loud then chuckles to herself.  Other images fill her brain as she thinks about her day and the projects on her to do list. But her mind is not free of worry thinking of the work she must do on her rental home from tenants who treated is like a rock star in a hotel room on a drug and alcohol binge. What is wrong with people she thought. To leave someone’s property is such a state of disarray and mess. She started to make a mental note of the tools she needed to take over there for a long hard weekend of back-breaking work for her and her husband.
She almost feels like she is on autopilot as she drives home, taking the same route twice a day everyday school is in. This day was no different. Except there is more than usual construction going on. It seems the roads in her town are always under construction. You can’t find a road to drive on that doesn’t have flashing lights, signs posted of people working, or those dirty orange cones to avoid hitting…or hitting if you want to have some fun.  She navigates the road construction like a child on a motorcycle arcade game. Leaning left and leaning right as she curves around the guys who carelessly walk about the side of the road like there is no impending danger to their lives as cars zoom on by at 10 over the speed limit. Even though there are road obstacles to navigate through, she still values this time to think through her plans for the day and prioritize her list. She also takes a few moments to think about all that she is blessed with, her two kids and her fantastic husband who she adores and finds a new thing to love about him each day.
Her thoughts are abruptly broken by a truck pulling out in front of her, nearly clipping her bumper. As she comes off autopilot, she breaks sharply and feels the overdue library books hit the back of her seat before hearing the thud from them dropping to the floor. She raises her hands in a “WTF” motion to the driver who waves a hand out the window. Somehow that makes it all better to her. He owns his mistake.  However, he too is cut short on distance as a rock carrying dump truck pulls a fast one in front of him; leaving us all about 15 feet short of road. As she takes a moment to look in the rearview mirror, out of habit, she first glimpses the empty car seat, briefly smiling as the image of her long, blonde-haired daughter singing a song from Mama Mia with her arms waving about in full animation like she is at an auditioning for the part. But then she notices the movement of a car. The car is traveling much too fast. Her mind racing, she looks in front of her, nowhere to go, she looks left and right and sees the construction workers carrying on, but they seem to be moving in slow motion, by the time she glances back up, her mind fills with blackness.
As she opens her eyes, she is blinded by the brilliance of the sun shining in her car; she realizes she is completely turned around, covered in blood, but feeling no pain. As she slowly comes to grip with what just occurred and assesses where she is, she sees a young girl on the side of the road, crying hysterically, she is just sitting on the concrete median. I wonder if she is hurt, but quickly realize she is the operator of the car that hit me. Her car too appears pretty mangled. She is talking but not making any sense. She is visibly shaking, and tears flow like a heavy rain down her face. I slowly crawl out of my window given my car doors are inoperable.
I yell, "someone call for help!" I walk slowly over to the young girl, and I try to find words to comfort her. People are stopping now and getting out of their cars. They run to my car and shrieks of cries come from the growing crowd of onlookers. People are running around, and it is complete chaos. Someone yells there is a car seat – was there a child in the car? “Did anyone see a child in the car,” someone yells again. For a brief moment I stopped to think, “did I drop her off, did I forget, was I just imagining the car seat was empty when in fact she was really there?” panic rose inside me for the briefest moment when I quickly recall her saying “I love you mommy” as she dropped her lunch bag while exiting my car, but was quickly helped by the traffic aid. Whew! I do remember that she was not in the car, relief welled inside me. They pull on my car doors, but without any luck, they could not get them open. I realize then that they do not know that I am on the curb with the young girl who hit me. I yell, “I am over here, there was no child.” I look at the girl and tell her to calm down; I am okay. But I am sure all of the blood on my clothing is adding to her dismay, she won’t even look at me, likely ashamed. She is mumbling something I cannot make out; I hear sirens in the distance. Oh, good they are coming now, I tell her this was just an accident, that I am okay, my kids are at school. Having been in an accident before and wishing at the time of my accident that someone took the time to calm me down too. I slowed my voice and my tone and repeated to her, “I am okay.” I did not want to be presumptuous and assume she needed or wanted a hug, but more so a calm voice of reassurance.  A person came over to her and asked what happened. I chimed in, “it was just an accident, we are both fine”, but they seem to ignore what I am saying, I would typically call these people busybodies, but I am sure they have the best intentions here. One person seemed to get more and more upset standing there, and started yelling, “I saw you on your cell phone, was it worth it,” she yelled. Another woman starts yelling, “there could have been a child in that car too!” I jumped in and said, “is this necessary – we need a calm environment right now, a lot is going on, let’s take a moment to calm down and try to process this.” I see a policeman walking toward us, and my hope was that he could calm this crowd.  Many people were running over to tell him what they saw. He waved them off in an aggressive manner with his hand and asked that they back up and give us room as he observed the scene and called in some codes on his radio to dispatch. The ambulance had arrived moments later, I started to stand and walk toward them but wanted to be there to talk with the officer in case he had questions for me too. I could share the truck pulling out in front of the truck and all that, but he went straight to her. He asked her what had occurred and she explained she did not see that traffic stopped, she was almost incoherent and sobbing loudly. He asked her if there was anyone she could call and she said, “my mom, I want to call my mom.” For a brief moment I thought of my kids, I hope they would do the same, call mom she will make it better. I took comfort in that for some reason. 
I see the paramedics come over to the officer, and he whispered something to them as they passed us and went to my car, I quickly gestured with my hand narrating and saying, “I am here, that is my car.” I repeated, “I am okay, we are okay, this was just an accident.” But then I see them pulling someone from my car. I am confused for a moment. I am unsure what is going on. I begin to walk toward the car, and as I look upon the face of the women they are pulling from the car, I quickly feel the sting of tears fill my eyes. It is me. I am being removed from my car. But how can this be, I am standing right here, I was comforting the girl, I was explaining to the officer what happened. My body is lifeless. With all the care in the world, I am placed on the gurney. Then as quickly as the blackness came in when the accident occurred, comes the total whiteness. I realize it is the white sheet they place over my lifeless body. Behind me, I hear painful screams and confusion.
My once happy thoughts quickly become sad as I picture my wonderful husband and my sweet kids. I won’t be there to pick them up today or any day from here on forward. I won’t hear my daughter’s sweet songs or recount my son’s day and all the things he forgot. I won’t hear about the comical stories my husband tells about his office life or share in how much work we have to do to get our rental home on the market for sale. I will miss his hugs. My heart fills with blackness as I come to terms with the reality I am no longer among the living.  I did not get to say goodbye to those that will likely hate me for leaving them far too early in this life. I wish I could take back all the comforting words wasted on that young girl on the roadside and send them to my kids for they will be confused and they will not understand why mommy won’t be there ever again. What was a careless act by one, quickly turns to a death sentence for another. I feel my soul lift, and I know it is my time to leave this life behind, but not before one more glance in the rearview mirror.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

United we stand, divided we fall.

We live in such a backwards world. People interpreting and applying the Bill of Rights every day to their advantage. The protesting that is going on, people are upset and stating people don’t have the right, when in fact it is the first amendment – perhaps the platform for which some of these messages are being produced is causing much anguish and people clearly don’t agree.

Next the mass shootings, now people talk about guns and the control of guns, when in fact the second amendment declares the right to bear arms, but people will twist it to suite a perspective skewed from others. This does not grant people the permission or entitlement to go on killing others for no reason.

What we fail to understand is the Bill of Rights provides freedoms that many will not agree with, but it is not freedom from consequences if you chose to exercise those rights. Both situations will have backlash, so what do we do to correct the issue?

We start by listening, we start by respecting, we start by providing mental health counselling and access to proper healthcare, we start by taking care of each other, we start by stopping the blame, we start by being compassionate, we start by having difficult conversations, we start by appreciating our history to progress our future, we start by accept the things we cannot change, the wrongs we cannot make right, and to focus on what we can change and what we can make right.

Where did we take a wrong turn in applying our basis freedoms? Where did we become such a divided country filled with so much civil unrest and hate and blame?

Yes, conversations need to be had – but they need to be the kind of conversations that progress us as a society, not divide and take away from what we have worked hard to build. We are going backwards with the division the hate the inappropriate application of the Bill of Rights to suite our own satisfaction. It just makes me sad that when you have children – you want to think you are leaving them in a world that was a better place than when I was here, I am not so sure that I am doing that now.

Life is hard enough, why must we add to it? I said last week that FB has become a stage for pushing agendas and after yesterday’s devastating events – it is even more so than it was.
How do we right this wrong? How do we become a society that stopped accepting that not everyone will be right all the time? How did we become so desensitized to the events such as what occurred yesterday, how do we recover the compassion that we once had? When did we stop caring for life?

I just don’t know but I am willing to listen, I am willing to accept that my way may not be the best way, I am willing to take chances to make this world a better place for my kids, one free of hate, blame, and violence.

My mind cries, my heart breaks. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Mirror


The reflection that stares back is not one I recognize. The lines of time, the roadmap of a life shaken and agitated, devoured by traumatic occurrences of survival. Every path navigated with varying degrees of defeat and subsistence.  How did this become a life so unfamiliar at times and at other times too familiar, almost comforting? Leaving a strike of pain the rises from within so suffocating, yet intoxicating. One might say devastating, but if you are me, it is vindicating. Knowing the reflection is one that cannot be impassive from my existence, a constant reminder that to be victorious means you have slain the demon that  eagerly sit in the darkness waiting to consume you with sorrow and dread, pinning you onto the ground with a hand akin to a hammer, but not this time…not any time here after.

May you try, and may you fail, as you have watched me do so many times before. You track that life line to a young girl who was afraid, alone, yet bidding her time, for this too shall pass she would tell her mind and body; do not lay duped to what has been taken, but set yourself free for all that remains; there is so much that remains. Do not be so naive to think this life will be without darkness, but take comfort in the moments that leave you breathless, bounded by blimey.

Too often I move through time with a blindness to happiness…wishing, hoping, my time will come. Tick tock…the clock strikes, go. I run, run so fast my limbs feel as though they are being ripped from my body. Running toward my life’s train. But…wait, all this time I have been running for the final destination. No! No, I scream in my mind. The final stop is the end of my journey. Panicked, I pull the cord to signal my early departure, it is not the final stop I seek, but the stop in between the last place and the place I don’t want to know.

No, it is not my time yet, I am slowing. Gently slowing, as not to miss my sojourn in this life. The reflection in the mirror whispers…here, stop here. I like this stop, I see happiness and my heart starts to beat again. Although I am still slowing, yet another life line tracks across my face. Let it show, relishing in all that is expressions - I lived, I loved, I cherished. It is one I will embellish with eternal bliss, even though I know it will not last forever. Decorating this place within my heart with jewels of pride, affection, and joyfulness. Adorned for better person surely, but it comes to me, so I grab it, hold it, and keep it for as long as I can.

Until tomorrow, when I see the person staring back at me; until then will I feel the need to relive the unpredictable opulence of life, but I will resist residing in the loins of purgatory.  My fate, my destiny, my life. Mirror, mirror, on the wall… may you capture my soul with a glance, may you hold it with time…but may you also set me free.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Passing

By Lee Ann Walker

Death affects us all very differently, but none immune to the thoughts that occur right before the moment of passing.  The moment of time that you become starkly conscious that there is no point of return, no turning back. The moment when you speak the words that flood the brain into the ear before the final breathe, you try to hold the moment before the passing, but like water it slips through your fingers – you are unable to say everything your mind is relaying to your mouth, and you realize this and sadness overcomes, you lean in to say all that you can - I am here, rest easy sweet babies, and I love you.

The heart knows no dissimilarity in the realm of loss, a loss is a loss, the heart grieves in a manner that the brain cannot fully understand or put into words. The moment after death, the brain seeks to find reason and thinks of all decisions before the passing moment and after the moment of passing. It analyzes the final moment to see if the right choice has been made – for it is the rational portion of the person, knowing there was great pain in keeping the inevitable from occurring. For keeping you here would have been a personal indulgence that should not be allowed to continue as your suffering was evident. I will not forget your eyes, they tell a story of contentment with the cloudiness of a sweet goodbye – you somehow know it is your time, perhaps it is the steady flow of tears I shed, or perhaps the smell of the air hinted of death. It is almost as if your eyes spoke to my heart, telling the story of happiness, a life of love, and the final moment of passing over into a world of no pain, no suffering, and no ailments was coming. I know you loved me, my steadfast babies.

Every moment since our forever goodbye, my thoughts are of you, I see you everywhere, surrounding me, I thought I saw you sitting in your usually spot, but I know it was my wishful mind thinking of how wonderful it would be to have you for another final moment.  I know the bad days must occur to make us really appreciate the good days, and there were so many good days. You both were gifts, ones that I treasured, held dear, and will forever miss.

The sadness in my eyes as you look upon me knowing the eternal light is for you, will be forever imprinted in my mind and marked on my heart - go to your bridge.  You reach out with your tiny paw with a tiny gesture as to say it is okay mom, it is our time to go. The bridge awaits, the field of flowers and butterflies to chase is calling us. It is sad to lose one baby, but to bear the loss of two within minutes proved to be the biggest heartache I have endured in a long time. 12 wonderful years is what I hold dear.

In the passing moment a piece of my heart went with you, I will never forget you, you served alongside me during my darkest moments and you created so many happy moments. Thank you both sweet babies for being my rocks and lending me an ear to share my dreams, my losses, and saddest, yet greatest moments of my life, thank you for your steadfast friendship and unconditional love. This family is no longer complete in your departure. No other will fill the void that has been created by your absence.

Forever in the passing. Cross the bridge into the unknown, happiness awaits. I will see you again when it is my time. Until then dance.