I certainly do not want to end with a depressing post for the year. Still, I am using this blog as a cathartic release right now. This is more of a way to let some thoughts bubble to the surface so I can face them.
I am a December baby. (And no, I was not born the day Pearl Harbor was atttacked. *cough* Dubber *cough*) I endured growing up with "slash gifts" - Bday/Christmas gifts. I vowed then that my birthday would be my day; a day for me. Yes, I spend it with family, but I take a chunk of time to think about the past and the future. A sort of stopping the car, stretching the legs and checking the map. Trouble is since 40, the map of what's ahead seems like a short trip. Mortality looms, looking over my shoulder...
This year, I spent my birthday in a hospital room, facing Mortality as it looked at both me and my son. No, Chase was never in any danger. But seeing him lay there for hours on end, while most any day he hardly stops moving even to eat, scared me more than I could ever describe. I was completely unprepared for this. And it broke me. It crushed me. (In his short time on earth, he has already spent more time in the hospital than I have in my lifetime.)
Then, Mortality took a road trip. My parents recently moved to Alabama; partly to be closer to my brother and not so far from me. They are moving their stuff slowly and deliberately. They bought a truck and a trailer so that they can take their time in settling into their new house. A few days after Chase left the hospital, I got a call from my brother. He hardly ever calls me; I usually have to call him. He just had a call from Dad. They had been in accident. All he knew for sure was that they had gone over an icy bridge near Canton and the trailer and truck sort of jack-knifed. When they hit dry pavement on the other side, Dad had over corrected and they flipped the truck onto the passenger side. While Dad said he was not hurt, Mom was. She had several cuts and her neck was hurt. He would call me when he knew more.
Within fifteen minutes, he called again to say that Mom had a broken bone in her neck. She was stable (that word again), but that they were taking her to Parkland in Dallas to do a CT scan. All I could do is lay awake all night (something I was very used to doing) and pray.
The next morning brought with it the call that she had indeed broken the first vertebra, but had not injured her spinal column. She had full use of her limbs, etc. She also had ruptured a vein beside it, but that surgery was not necessary. Aspirin to thin the blood would do. Bruised and cut from all of the glass from the broken passenger window were the only other injuries. She was out of the hospital in two days, but has to wear a neck brace for three months.
It is notable that my Dad has driven millions of miles. And that is not an exaggeration. During that time, I only know of one ticket that he has received. And this is very first accident he has had. I am hoping that this will be his only accident.
During all this time, I felt like I was in the eye of a hurricane. Just one wrong move, and I would be sucked up and into oblivion. It was all too overwhelming. But I internalized it. I only let bits of it to assail me during the day. At night was a different story. I knew what my Dad was going through. He never left his wife's side. He did not even consider getting checked out until his wife was in the clear and there were others to be there for her. Even with the risk of having internal injuries, his agony at causing harm to her consumed him. He was living out a fear he, and I, face every time we take the family anywhere: I do not want to bring harm (or death) to others while being the one driving the car. His dread was now a reality.
It seems strange to note that I still feel like a 28 year-old. And Chase and I play more like 2 kids. There is no 40 year difference with us. I'm just taller. It was just that with my birthday and the coming new year, I realized that I am coming upon 25 years since graduating from high school. I have been out of public schools double the amount of time I spent going. No, I do not plan on going to any reunions. Still, a thought hit me right between the eyes. There are those with whom I went to school, some that I saw during all twelve of those years, that will have 2 year-old grandchildren. Perhaps some of the grandkids could be older than Chase. I am in no way saying that I regret my choice. In all honesty, I am certainly pleased and feel blessed with having Chase now. I rather think that if we had children soon after getting married, it would have put too much stress on us. It potentially could have ended our marriage. That would have been years of therapy - "I was the reason my parents divorced."
I know that this has been a bit of rambling. Like I said, most of this is a release of thoughts and feelings that I keep inside. I know that it isn't healthy. I started writing some of this in a journal. But the idea that someone may read this gives it more weight. And takes more of the weight off of me.
So here I am facing a dichotomy: A happy, healthy life with a loving family, all the while feeling like it could all end so swiftly and mercilessly. All I can do is thank God for one more day of living.