I stopped at the supermarket to get some cupcakes. The checker asked if there was anything he could do.
No, thanks. I’m okay.
You’re sure, it looks like you’ve had a long day.
Yeah, but you don’t have the capability to do anything about it.
So today is supposed to be my eldest daughter’s fourteenth birthday. The nice thing is that is doesn’t hurt any more, but it is still a heavy day.
At 6:01am while we were going to a church volunteer opportunity, a drunk driver fell asleep at the wheel and 1.2 seconds crossed the median and hit me, and my 35 week pregnant wife.
When I woke up it was so pleasant, the sun was shining full on my face, there was a gentle breeze on my cheeks, and there was even a melodious pinging coming from the cooling engine.
Of course, as soon as I remembered that we had been traveling northbound on the interstate, I knew there was a problem with the sunshine on my face.
I opened my eyes to two broken arms, facing East with my wife slumped on my shoulder next to me. I believe in God and I prayed more fervently as I had ever done.
It didn’t help that the next thing I heard was someone shout “two dead on scene.” I count real good up to three and there were two of us in our car. So I shouted to let whoever know that she was pregnant which would give the baby a chance.
The best sound I ever heard was my wife waking up screaming in pain a few seconds later.
Then people arrived, but they had no idea what to do, so I took charge and had them cover us with blankets to ward off shock as best they could until help arrived, which took a while since we were in between two big cities in Colorado.
She was born by emergency C-section while I was still in the ER. I told them her name.
She started out well with a great APGAR score but then things went downhill as she bled into her brain, from the trauma of the crash. We have a lovely family picture, the three of us together in the ICU with tubes and machines everywhere.
But after nine days the fight was over, her brain died. So I ordered life support removed and we held her for the 10 hours and 19 minutes it took for her to die. She had quite the sense of humor, every time the doctor stood to check if it was over, our daughter would take a big breath and so the doctor would sit down again.
Oxycontin numbs really well, even emotions, but there was enough for the memorial, where I sobbed alone, because my wife had a traumatic brain injury and couldn’t remember anything. And everyone else was too ...strong to weep with me.
So no, friend supermarket checker, there is no way for you to make this day better for me. You can’t bring back my baby, or do anything with those years and I won’t burden you with this.
But I know I have friends here that can share in this now.