I was speeding up M-39 one year ago, at this time. I was zipping around cars to try and get to St. John Oakland Hospital.
No that’s not right.
I was creeping along up the Southfield Freeway. My flight was on time to Detroit, and the Sibs knew that I was on my way. I was really wishing that I had taken the noon flight. I got the call around ten in the morning, but it would have been too close. The next flight was 2:30. Gave me a little more time to deal with the logistics of an out of town spouse and two boys home for summer vaycay.
No that’s not right. My dealing with the logistics was: two frantic calls, throwing some clothes in a bag. I specifically packed a jacket. In case I was staying for a funeral.
No, that’s not right. There was no “in case.” At least that’s what my ever-the practical brain knew. Fortunately, the brain was in charge of packing. And the brain was in charge as I was stuck in traffic on the freeway. Between exits 5 and 6, my cell phone rang. And for that split second, the brain lost control of the situation. The heart fumbled for the phone.
The brain grabbed control back and immediately was sorry that the phone was answered. It was the Sibling who had news for me.
No, that’s not right. She didn’t have news, because I already knew. And I asked her not to tell me. I told her I would be there in about 30 minutes. I didn’t need to hear it right this second. I still had time. I wasn’t ready, and it would do me no good to know right now. “It can wait,” I said. I cried as I crawled up the “express”way.
No, that’s not right. My volume was high when I told her I didn’t want to know. She felt I had to know right then. I was so angry. I hung up before she could get it all out. I screamed. Then, I cried. I was stuck in traffic, I was all fucking alone in some strange car, in a city that I hate. I couldn’t pull over. My eyes stung.
I wasn’t so sure where the hospital was. I knew where the other hospital was, but not this one. I drove past it, had to turn around. I went into the lot and parked the car. (I think it was a sliver sedan. A white Charger maybe? Yeah, that was it, the white Charger that failed me.) I went to the desk and asked to see my father.
No, that’s not right. I didn’t know what to ask. I couldn’t see my father in the way you see someone in the hospital. It was more like seeing someone in a morgue. He was dead. So I told the woman at the information desk that I wanted to see my father, and that he was dead, and that he died within the past hour. Where would he–and my family–be?
I went into the ICU and he was there. With my mother and Sib#1. Sib#2 and SpouseOf#2 were in the hall.
No, that’s not right. He wasn’t there. His body was. And I don’t think that he had been there for a few days. So it didn’t really matter that I missed seeing him. Traffic didn’t matter. The noon flight wouldn’t have helped. But what I wanted was that all three of us were with him so he would know that we were all there. All together. All for him. The brain knew that he wouldn’t have known. Then brain went to work tending to the tasks at hand. There was alot to do, and this was all new.
No, that’s not right. The heart kept trying to poke out from the heavy blanket. It did matter.
No, that’s not right. It doesn’t matter.
No, that’s not right. It does.