Sunday, April 26, 2015

I'm So Sorry

Do you remember what you were doing on April 26, 2012?
On Thursday April 26, 2012 around 5pm?
I was driving home from Manchester in Tennessee, headed for the house where we lived in Tullahoma.
LC was in his truck right behind me, and we were only a few minutes from the house.
My cell phone rang, but it was sunny and I couldn't read the name on the screen of my phone.
Answering my phone a woman said my name.
It was Jessica and she had been crying.
In the six years that I had known Jess, she had never called me before, and I knew.
Karin I'm so sorry.  Seans' dead.  I'm so sorry....................

Do the clothes that I send to him fit?
I don't know.
Does he play with the toys that I send him?
I don't know.
I send emails during the holidays.  How is Jess and how is her little boy?
I don't hear so I don't know.
Karin I'm so sorry.  Sean's dead.  I'm so sorry..............................

LC and I were sitting at a table at an insurance office in Arco one day a few months ago.
Patiently (impatiently) sitting through endless questions, I sat and watched as the agent we were dealing with added information into a computer that was on the desk in front of him.
In his friendly and business-like manner he informed both of us that he had set up an account and that we could access that account at any time.
In my friendly and business-like manner I informed him that we did not have a secure computer and that we would not be accessing the account via our home computers at any time.
Ignoring my comment, he continued to let me know that the site he was on would be asking for an answer to a security question.
Annoyed that he had ignored my comment, I was prepared to answer any stupid security question he cared to ask.
Name of my dog?  Kory.
City of birth?  Sarpsborg.
Mothers maiden name?  Bolten.
Deeply engulfed in whatever prompts were on his computer (and without looking away from the screen) he asked me the name of my oldest child.
I hadn't been prepared for that.
My brain instantly began to speed up and the world around me (in return) instantly slowed down, and then a whole lot of things seemed to happen in fast-slow motion.
I couldn't breathe.
I was immediately angry.
So angry I could barely think.
I wanted to cry, and I had to concentrate hard to maintain control.
An internal debate raged inside my head.
Did I give him the name of my oldest child?
The one who no longer existed?
Did I give him the name of my youngest child?
The only one I had left?
If I gave him the name of my only child, would it dishonor the life of my oldest child?
Anger.  Blinding, white hot, overwhelming anger at having to wrestle with those questions.
I couldn't breathe.  
I couldn't think.  
I was shaking from the inside out.
The walls of the fortress (that I had worked so long and hard to construct and then reinforce) instantly shattered, and the rubble lay at my feet in a pile of stone and dust.
Inside my head I could hear the walls of the fortress collapsing.
Inside my head I watched the fortress collapse and the noise was deafening.
Looking up I realized that the insurance agent was still looking at the screen of his computer, and that everything that had just happened had happened in a split second of real time.
Looking to my right I wordlessly studied the face of LC for a moment.
He was watching me silently.  Wordlessly.  Closely.  Knowing everything that had just happened.
Turning back to the insurance agent - Sean.
It's funny how you can be in a room surrounded by people and be falling apart inside, and nobody even knows it
Karin I'm so sorry.  Seans' dead.  I'm so sorry.....................

She was walking in the sunshine when Life came out of nowhere.
A dark almost formless shadow, it was holding something in its hands but before she could process what it was, Life bent down and swung the object as hard as it could..
It was a metal bar, and as it made contact with her knees the pain was instant and blinding.
She crumpled to the ground in an outraged combination of pain and anger, but when she looked up the shadow was already gone.  
Faded back into the trees and........gone.
She lay on the ground unable to move, finding it hard to breathe, finding it hard to focus on the world around her.
A few minutes passed and she pulled herself up to a sitting position and then dragged her pain-wracked body over the grass until she was leaning upright against a tree.
Still trying to breathe, she looked down at her legs, wondering just how bad the damage was.
She had known it was coming.  She didn't know where and she didn't know when, but she had known that it would be somewhere and that it would be soon.
Carefully and painfully she pulled up her pant legs, determined to look.
Her knees were a bruised and bloodied and misshapen mess, but even through the pain and injuries she knew that eventually she would walk again.
It had happened before.  Too many times before in fact.  She had always recovered, and eventually she would recover from this.
Weeks go by and then months. 
Walking moves from impossible to barely possible to possible.
And then one day she realizes that she is no longer in pain, and that she can even run again.

She was walking in the sunshine when Life came out of nowhere.
A dark almost formless shadow, it was holding something in its hands but before she could process what it was, Life stood directly in front of her and swung the object as hard as it could.
It was a metal bar, and as it made contact with her face her face exploded in a moment of blinding, white hot, pain.
She hadn't seen it coming.
She fell to the ground in searing pain, and there was no looking for the shadow.  There was only all-encompassing pain.  
The pain was the only thing there was in the world.  There was nothing else. 
She lay on the ground not caring about moving and not caring about breathing.
She lay unseeing on the ground.  She could feel the sun beating down on her but the sun did not warm her.  The world was cold.  
She was cold.
She was tired.
Time passed.  
She didn't know how much time passed and she didn't care.
Her face was broken - bone and teeth broken, eyes unseeing and black.  She could taste the blood and she knew that this time the damage was bad.  Very bad.  She would never recover from this.  There was no recovering from this and she didn't care.
Karin I'm so sorry.  Seans' dead.  I'm so sorry..................

Was Sean happy?
I don't know.
I did not have reason to question, but I did have reason to wonder.
Does it even matter anymore?
I don't know.
Did it hurt?
Did he feel pain?
Does it even matter anymore?
I don't know.
Did he have time to be scared?
Does it even matter anymore?
I don't know.
Did he know that I loved him?
Does it even matter anymore?
I don't know.
Did he know that I was proud of him?
Does it even matter anymore?
I don't know.
He died alone.
Does it even matter anymore? 
I.  Don't.  Know.
There were no goodbyes.  No time to hug or hold or touch or caress or comfort or reassure or say all the words that had been said a million times over 28 years, but which needed to be said again anyway.
One day he was the center of my universe.  He and his brother the two beings that had always propelled my life forward.  The NORTH arrow on my internal compass.  
One day he was there.  The next day he was not.
Gone forever.
How does someone reconcile that?
I don't know. 
Does it even matter anymore?
Karin I'm so sorry.  Seans' dead.  I'm so sorry................

The picture above is of Sean's son.  His name is also Sean.
And this was a picture of him celebrating his second birthday.  
I have a picture of my Sean celebrating his second birthday.
He is white headed and blue eyed, and he was wearing a pale yellow and white striped romper with a picture of a little goose in the middle of his chest.
His brother Chris was only a few weeks old.
The picture is in a box that is buried underneath other boxes.
There is a picture somewhere other than just the one that is in my head..
All the pictures are together in a box, but sometimes I find something else that belonged to him.  A story he wrote.  A picture he drew.  His high school graduation certificate.  A random picture of him.  His year book.  I unexpectedly come across them when I am digging through one box or another looking for one thing or another, and I can't stand the pain.  It's too much.
Karin I'm so sorry.  Sean's dead.  I'm so sorry......................

3 years today.
3 years.
Karin I'm so sorry.  Seans' dead.  I'm so sorry.....................  

Leadore and More - Part 4

We stopped three times more on the slow, meandering way back down the pass.
Once on a side road that passed over a body of moving water and then simply disappeared into the mountains up ahead of us, once at an overlook and one last time at a campground close to the town of Leadore.
The silence and the beauty of the landscape were overwhelming and (even though we still had hours to drive before we reached home) none of us seemed to be in any great hurry to leave this place.
Click on any picture and it will enlarge..................
One last stop (at the same convenience store in Leadore where we had stopped earlier) to get more ice-cream bars for the road, and then it really WAS finally time to turn the truck towards home.................
The one thing to remember about an adventure is that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all.........Kim Fay

Friday, April 24, 2015

Leadore and More - Part 3

We were standing on top of a pass that was at an elevation close to 8000 feet.
LC had pulled the Tahoe off the winding, climbing, dirt road that we had driven from the small, quiet town of Leadore, that was located 8 miles down below us.
It was windy, and the wind was cool and so I grabbed for a light shell, and then  climbed out and grabbed for Kory's leash before she wormed her way out of the vehicle and rushed beyond me, as she was apt to do.
Inadvertently we had taken a day trip to Leadore and then learned that we were close to both the Continental Divide and the Montana border.
On our elevated perch we could look out over the valley and mountains of Montana in front of us, and then the valley and mountains of Idaho behind us.
Aside from the wind this place was absolutely and completely silent.
And also very beautiful.
Knowing that I would want to snap some pictures, LC offered to take our dogs leash so that I could wander unencumbered.
I maneuvered over a steep ditch and headed for a post fence (that I learned once I moved to Idaho is called a Jake Fence).....................
Among many of her instincts is a finely turned compulsion to keep the "herd" together.
Kory gets watchful and on alert if her two people are within eye shot but separated.
Kory watching me closely.
LC watching me closely as well...................
Following along the fence I eventually reached a place where it was beginning to buckle.
It was fallen and falling down in that wonderful way that old wood fences have when they have been exposed to the elements for many years.
I could only imagine how extreme the weather must get at this elevation..................
Standing at the break in the fence, I regarded the double track dirt road for a few moments.
Maybe on another trip we could find out where this road led..................
Heading back to LC and Kory, I grabbed my dogs leash and walked across the road and headed over to the opposite lookout.
LC headed back to retrieve the Tahoe.  
He would meet us in Idaho...............
There are many times when I can almost hear the hamster wheel spinning inside my dogs' head.
I wonder how dogs process new information.
Many times I look at her and wonder what she is thinking.
As she stood looking out over the valley and mountains on the Idaho section of the border, I wondered again what she was thinking.
Almost a year and a half ago she had been living in Tampa Bay, Florida.
And now here she was looking out over...........this.
How did she process that?........................
Bannock Pass:
Looking around me I could see a couple of trails that meandered further into the mountains.
For the first time that day I was regretting that this was only a day trip.
There was so much to see and so much to explore, and I wanted to see it and explore it right now.  Right now - while we were here.....................
30 minutes after we reached the summit of Bannock Pass, it was time to head back.
The dam over on the Montana side of the pass would have to wait for another time.
So would the town of Dillon, Montana.
So would the dirt road in the break in the fence.
So would the narrow and winding dirt trails that led directly into the mountains.
We were three hours from home and it was time to go.
But first there were a couple of places we wanted to stop at on the way back down to Leadore.................