I am on a stretcher being pushed through the narrow corridors of the much-too-brightly lit emergency room. My left arm draped over my face covering my eyes. Not from the light, but from my own embarrassment. When kids are embarrassed they cover their eyes, or hide behind someone, and that’s what I feel like, a little kid. It’s weird how men feel embarrassed and ashamed when we get hurt. It’s as if we’ve failed at something… As if we’ve been beaten.
It’s as if the castle walls that have stood for an age guarding our secret truths have been besieged. The mighty stone blocks fixed around us, protecting our child’s heart, cracked. And if someone is paying attention, if someone is looking close enough, they can see that you’re not so tough after all. They can peer through the fracture and see that little boy who cringes wide-eyed in fear in the dark of his bedroom when the adults yell and fight. They can see the teenage boy, smile etched on his face, aglow with the boundless hope that the cute girl at school will feel the same way about him as he does for her… They can see the sorrow on his face when he finds out she doesn’t… she never does.
I have my own room now. My doctor tells me I need an MRI, but my insurance won’t cover it. In the meantime it’s lots of drugs. My mom is there. She always takes care of me when I’m hurt. She loves me and that is comforting. The love moms have for their children is so strong that I think non-moms don’t really understand. My mom used to say to me, “Michael, do you know how much I love you?” And I would reply, “Yes, of course I do mom.” But I really didn’t have a clue. Mom’s love completely transcends understanding. It’s a force, stronger than the pyramids, more powerful than the atom, deeper than the deepest ocean abyss. Mom’s love is life itself.
The doctor sends me home, but instead I go to my grandmas. She will take care of me while I heal. I lay on the bed while my mom takes my shoes off and grandma prepares some lunch. I know I am blessed to have these women in my life, and I vow then that I would rather die a slow painfully agonizing death than to see either of these women spend one day in a nursing home, because people need to be with the people that they love.
It’s something I learned on New Years. After 4 days of non-stop drinking I awoke Sunday morning feeling like death incarnate. I literally felt like I was going to die. I lay alone on the couch. My heart beating so hard I can see my shirt rising and falling with the rhythm. My chest hurt, I couldn’t breathe. None of my family or friends were answering the phone. I began to cry. I stood up and walked down the hall and knocked on Luke’s door. “Luke” I said, “will you come sit with me please?” Luke came out into the living room and sat down with me, and it felt like the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. All of the sudden I felt like everything would be okay… Even If I died, right then and there, at least someone I loved would be there with me.
..To Be Continued…