Saturday, April 10, 2010

God, please don’t take my son

The young father looked down into the swaddled child’s resting place. The harsh fluorescence lights shown down on his baby boy, now sleeping peacefully, despite the wires stuck onto his small body.

The young father, wanting nothing more than to hold his son, gently touched the boy’s forehead again. He needed to feel the child, to make sure there was warmth in his little boy’s body. He needed the tactile evidence, needed to know that he was here in this moment, in this room, with his son and that his son was still here as well.

The baby, lost in the dreams of a newborn, kicked a foot out from under the blanket in which he was covered. The young father looked at the little foot. His baby was fighting, the father hoped, even in his sleep.

The hours and days that had led up to now had frightened the young father. His baby was just days old when it was discovered there were “issues” the doctors wanted to “keep an eye” on in the coming days.

The coming days were not kind to the baby or the father. The baby’s mother was with the child every possible minute, but the father had to earn a living for his family. He was pulled away from the child he wanted to be with, to ensure his family could eat and remain in the small home he created for them.

It hurt every minute he was away from his little boy. His thoughts were of his first born, every minute of every hour of every day. Even in his sleep the young father thought of his child and hoped for the best.

Earlier the day before, the doctors had suggested a new course of treatment for the young child and now the baby was sleeping. A heart monitor showed a mostly steady beat, except for an occasional blip that would startle both the young father and mother. A respiration monitor showed a mostly steady breathing pattern, except for the occasional pause that would startle both the young father and mother.

“We’ll know more in a few days,” the doctor had said, as he annotated directions for the nursing staff on the pad which hung on the foot of the crib in which the baby now slept. “He’s not out of the woods yet, sir, but we have done all we can. We’ll know more in the next 48 hours.”

That had been a day ago.

Now, this day, this moment in time, as the child’s mom stepped away for a few minutes, the young father was alone with his son. He reached down and re-covered the little foot that had kicked out from under the blanket.

In all his life, the young father had lived with the belief that he knew how things were. He knew that life was life and that what is, is the reality in which he lived.

He loved his wife and his parents, loved his life and his friends. He worked hard and he played harder and his life was what he had made of it. He thought his life was full.

Until his son was brought into the world.

He then understood that everything in his life had been but a shallow level. Everything that had gone on in his life, the joy, the sadness, the work and the play, had been a just a day by day living of life. He saw that he'd been living on the surface of life's great world.

The child brought life to his life. It turned his black and while into full living color. No longer was the young father living on the surface, but now he was living in the entire world of life, the surface through the universe above him.

The young father, who had known what he believed in, heard the echo of the doctor’s unsaid words. He had said “we have done all we can.” What he didn’t say was “the rest is up to your child and God.”

The young father, who had never asked God for anything, felt a tear roll down his face. “Dear God,” he heard himself saying, “please don’t take my son.”

For the first time in all the days he had been in this room, the heart monitor’s gentle beat and the respirators rhythmic pulse were steady and reassuring.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sarah's heart

This story comes from a conversation with someone today. I never realized how painful it could be to talk with someone I loved so much.

The waves of the icy ocean mirrored the pain in Sarah’s heart. Each wave was different, but each one was the same. It was a sad realization that her heart had grown hard. Her heart held nothing but herself. There was no room for others.

Her heart had been broken, used and torn asunder. She tried to salvage the love she had in it, but the love was gone. She lied to herself for so long she almost believed she could love, but she knew she would not.

All the love she had shared, the kindness, the unconditional giving to another had played out to a dead end. There was no way to rekindle the flame. The fire had been quenched.

She was broken.

Sarah had loved with all her soul and all she had for 27 years of her 50 years. There was nothing she would not have done for him, no sacrifice too great.

But he could not fulfill that which she wanted.

She could not continue loving a man she no longer loved.

She could no longer pretend every morning and pretend every night.

She had no fear of leaving.

Her heart had no love for him.

As his tears fell, her feet stepped into a new life.

She stood alone without him for the first time in 27 years.

And her heart was beat a gentle rhythm that no one else would be allowed to ever hear.

Sarah’s love of her children, two daughters of beauty, was without question and without bounds, but they had moved on in their lives, with loves of their own. She loved them and shared with them, but inside, she knew her heart for another was cold.

In the years since she’d stepped off into the night, divorcing him by proxy so as not to have to face the destruction she’d wrought, she had walked through the days with the cold held inside.

The smile she showed to others, the kindness she bestowed, the words of warmth, hid the heart that had been silenced in its voice.

Walls were constructed around her heart.

Strong walls.

Impenetrable walls.

And it did not matter to her.

She liked her walls.

She cherished her walls.

She used the walls as a weapon.

It did not matter to her who got hurt.

Her heart was cold.

Her heart was what mattered.

Herself is all she had to depend on.

Herself was all she would depend on.

The hurt of others was not something with which she concerned herself. She did not need to be concerned with their feelings. She had built walls around her heart so no one ever got close enough for her to care about their feelings. She had found that by not caring about someone else, she did not have to care or fret or worry or think about their feelings.

The men from her life, first Steven, then Tom, then Lou all loved Sarah. They gave to her all they hoped she wanted. They offered honesty and love, kindness and fidelity. There was comfort in them and she accepted it without giving too much, without giving her heart. As each one fell under the emptiness of her love, she turned and walked away.

Sarah did not care how they were hurt.

They were them.

She was Sarah.

Sarah’s heart never hurt.

Sarah’s heart never healed.

Sarah’s love was never real.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


The words are written by Alex’s teacher. Alex wrote the original manuscript over the course of several weeks. The teacher wrote them in a format that could be understood by the reader.

I am special. I know because mom says I am special. I am special to her and she loves me. I love my mom. I love my brother. I love my dad. I love my cat. I love my games. I love the Challenger car I saw. Mom took me to see it at Christmas. She took a picture of me with it and her friend made it look really cool.
I was asked by my teacher to write this because she wanted to know what I am thinking. I don’t like to write. I don’t think so well. I know I am not as smart as my brother. I know I am not as smart as mom. I know I am not as smart as dad. I know I am not smart because I go to a special school.
I played a game today on the computer. It was a truck game. I got to race. I like games. Hard games are not fun. I like to watch my brother play games. He is good. I love my brother. He makes me mad sometimes. I don’t know why he gets mad at me sometimes. Sometimes I do things that make him mad, but I don’t mean to. I don’t like it when my brother is mad at me. I don’t like to be mad at my brother.
I am happy today. Today mom made popcorn and ice cream for us. I like when we are together and happy. Dad wasn’t here. He and mom don’t live here together. I don’t know why dad doesn’t live here. I think I was told, but I don’t remember. I don’t remember a lot of things. I know he used to live here. I am glad he doesn’t because mom and dad used to fight a lot. I don’t remember what they used to fight about but I know they said my name a lot. I was bad a lot and this made them mad. I don’t like being bad.
I like my teacher today. Mrs. Davenport said I am doing very well writing. I don’t like to write. It is hard for me to put words to what I am thinking. I have to work very hard and I get mad when I can’t write what I am thinking. Words are hard and I can’t spell very well. Mrs. Davenport said she would write it for me so other people can read it. I don’t know if I want other people to read it. I don’t want people to think I am dumb. She said other people won’t think I am dumb, just that I am different. I wish I wasn’t different, but she said me being different is what makes me special. She told me God created me to be Alex. I don’t know what that means. I have been told about God but I don’t understand.
I have some nice toys I play with. Mom let’s me play on her computer too. My toys I can play with in my room where it is quiet. I like quiet because I don’t understand what other people say all the time. I try to understand, but the words they use I don’t understand. In my room I am by myself and I don’t have to think about others and I can play with my toys. I also like computer games. I can play for a long time and it is fun. I don’t get told to put the toys away after playing on the computer.
My friend Steve was mean to me today. He hit me in the head and called me dumb. I told Mrs. Davenport and she told Steve to stop. He did for a little while but I was still mad because he made fun of me when I couldn’t remember how to put the puzzle we were working on back together. I tried to remember, but I forget things a lot. Steve was mad because I wouldn’t let him do it for me. I wanted to do it. I wanted to get the puzzle back together, but I could not figure it out. Steve was mad at me because I wouldn’t let him do it. I know I can do it. I have done it before. He hit me in the head again and called me dumb. It hurt my feelings and I shoved him away. I just wanted to remember how to  put the puzzle together. I pushed him and he fell and told Mrs. Davenport. She was mad at me for pushing Steve and that made me mad. She didn’t understand and she made me put the puzzle away. I was very mad. I cried.
I took a trip today. I rode on a school bus to a place today. I don’t remember where it was but it looked real nice. There were things there that I liked looking at, but they were not cars. There were other kids on the bus, but Steve wasn’t there. Steve could not come to school today. Mrs. Davenport said he had to go to the hospital today and couldn’t come on the trip. Steve is my best friend and I miss him when he is not here. Steve likes cars and we look at them almost every day. He usually sits with me when we go on trips because we’re best friends. When he comes on trips I have more fun, but when he doesn’t, I don’t have anyone to sit with. Sometimes Mrs. Davenport will sit with me and that makes me feel better, but I miss Steve. Steve misses a lot of school because of his dialysis and the tumor in his brain. He is sick a lot.
I was bad today. I was mad because Steve won’t be coming back to school for a long time. Mrs. Davenport said Steve is having an operation next week and has to stay home for a long time. That made me mad. I don’t have a lot of friends because a lot of people don’t like me. I don’t know why they don’t like me and it makes me mad. I was mad because Steve wouldn’t be here for a long time. I was very mad and I threw my toys away. I didn’t want to play today. I wanted to cry.  I wanted to go home. I wanted to be with mom and my brother instead of here. Toys here are no fun without Steve. Mrs. Davenport was very cross with me for throwing my toys. She told mom when she came to pick me up. Mom was mad too, but she hugged me and took me home.
I am still mad. I don’t want to write today. Mrs. Davenport said I should but I won’t.
My mom sent me to my dad’s today. She was very mad at me because I don’t want to do anything and I was mean to her. Mrs. Davenport told me today Steve’s operation didn’t go well and he died. I don’t want Steve to die. Steve is my best friend and I want him to come back to school. Mrs. Davenport said he wouldn’t come back and that he has gone to live with God. I said he has to come back. If he is not here, I am mad. Mom hugged me a lot today. I love mom, but I am not going to do anything but wait for Steve to come back. Mom told me we are going to go look at cars, but I didn’t want to go. She made me go. It was no fun and I told her I wanted to go home. I wouldn’t eat because I didn’t want to and mom was mad. I don’t like making mom mad, but when I am mad, I don’t want to do anything. I don’t have to if I don’t want to.
I miss my mom. I love dad and he gives me hugs, he gives me toys, he talks to me lot and he holds me when I cry. But he is not mom. Mom is special to me because she understands me. She likes me and I am sad when I make her mad. I don’t know how to tell her how I feel sometimes. I don’t know the words to use because I don’t remember words very well. I sometimes make mom very mad and I don’t mean to, I just want to be with her because she is special to me. I don't want to be mean to her, I just get so mad and I can not stop from being mean to her. I am mad at myself and I do not know what to do. I don't want to be mad.
I miss my brother. He came to stay with us for a few days. Cody is a good brother and I love him. He is like Steve. He plays games with me and he talks to me like I am not dumb. Sometimes he gets mad at me for throwing the toys, but he doesn’t stay mad long. I miss him when he is not here with me and dad. Cody is good to me. When he went back to live with mom last night I cried. Dad tried to hold me, but I did not want to. I want to go home with Cody and mom. I love dad, but I love Cody and mom too. It is hard for me to say why, but I miss my mom. She holds me different than dad does.
I want to go home to mom. Dad is mad because I won’t eat the food he makes. I don’t want to. I want to go home. I want to see mom again.
I took a trip today. It was fun. I have a new best friend. His name is Darrell. Darrell is smart. He is 17 years old and is in the same class as me. I am 20 years old and he is smarter. He has very big glasses and wears a helmet when he gets mad, but he is very smart. He helps me understand things. He sat with me on the bus. He has a back pack with stuff in it he needs. He told me about waterfalls and how they come from melting ice in the mountains. He showed me how to get water in my hand and drink it. He splashed me and I was mad until he showed me how to splash and handful of water. We laughed a lot. I like Darrell.
Mom gave me a camera today. She showed me how to use it to look at my pictures on the computer. Now I take pictures. I took pictures of Darrell today at school. Mrs. Davenport took pictures of Darrell and me and mom let me print them on her computer. I now have pictures of me and Darrell and me and Steve on my bedroom wall. Steve is not coming back. Steve died.
Mom plays music for me. She plays the radio and sings to me sometimes. She picked me up from dad’s place today and said I was coming home. She said she misses me. Dad was mad, but I told him I wanted to go home. He was mad at me, but I don’t care. I will be closer to Darrell and mom and Cody.
When we got home, mom turned on the radio and when I was on her computer playing a game, she hugged me and sang to me. She has a good voice. I stopped playing and listened to her sing. I liked having her hug me and I liked having her sing to me. I swayed to music because I didn’t understand the words, but I liked the music. I hope she does it more.
I am sad today. I can not go to school for a while. I am sick. I feel bad. My head hurts. My stomach hurts. I am sick. Mom said she will take me to the hospital but I don’t want to go. A hospital is where Steve went. I don’t want to go. Mom said I need to because the doctor will make me better. I am afraid.
Mom held my hand when I went to the doctor’s this morning. He looked in my eyes and my mouth. He used a stick and a light. He was very funny and made me laugh but I still held onto mom. He said I was sick and gave me some medicine. He told mom I would be ready to go back to school in a week. It was ok. I asked if he was the doctor for Steve and he said he wasn’t. I was glad he wasn’t.  
I want to be good. I have been home now for a long time. I think it has been a week. I want to go back to school and play with Darrell. His mom brought him over one day and we played some. I feel a lot better. I want to go back to school and mom said I could in two days. I was mad because I wanted to go tomorrow. She said there was no school tomorrow. That made me mad and I threw my toys at her. This made her very cross. She made me sit in my punishment chair. I don’t like the chair and I don’t have to sit in it often, but when I do, I know mom is very mad. I want to be good, but sometimes I just get so mad. I want her to sing to me, but she is mad because I broke something when I threw my toy truck.
I want to be smarter, but I don’t know how to be. I can only learn a little every day and I forget a lot. I read what I wrote here, but don’t remember all of it. I remember Steve sometimes, but not a lot. He died. Darrell is my best friend and I see him a lot at school. I want to be smarter so I can sing to mom like she sings to me. I love mom.