It’s been eight years, but that night is forever etched into my memory like a tattoo I neither asked for nor wanted.
I remember every vivid detail.
I remember watching him take his last breathes, not knowing that’s what was happening.
I remember standing at his bedside, crying out over and over again, like a three year old who just discovered she’s all alone.
I remember screaming, and falling to my knees…
I remember sitting cross legged on the floor outside his door, making call after call.
I called my brother, praying with every breath he wouldn’t answer, not knowing what I was to say.
I called my cousin and asked her to get out of bed and drive across town to keep my baby girl
I called Ben, told him to get dressed and come quickly. He had flown in on a Red Cross message from NTC just hours prior.
I called my Nana, his birth-mother, and listened, helpless while she wailed. We would lose her only two years later.
I called aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, dear friends and bosses, and anyone else we wanted to know before the rest of the world.
I forcefed my mother anti-anxiety medication, fearful that she was going to have a heart attack. She could be angry at me later, but at least she would be alive…
Every single event of that night is forever with me. The extra bed the nurses had brought in for my mom and my pregnant self to sleep in.
Every person who was in the room; their murmurs and weeps.
The way the lights went from calming and low to the abruptness of the fluorescents as doctors and nurses lingered in and out. The way my uncles sat around me on the floor because I simply could not, would not, get up.
My mother’s sobs and wails, and the look of complete devastation and fear on my brothers face. He had just turned 22. Old enough to be the man of the house, young enough that he shouldn’t have to be…
My mama has told me often that she has very few memories of that night. And perhaps that’s why I am keeper of them, locked away, out of sight where they can do no more damage. Like a tattoo etched in regret, that no-one ever sees, I cover them up and hide them away to protect those around me.