Over the last year I have intentionally avoided talking about one specific topic. The ambulance ride the morning you died. Honestly, Momma breaks into a panicked, cold sweat every time she hears or sees an ambulance. It's even worse if I'm driving, when all I can do is pull over, close my eyes and white-knuckle the steering wheel.
It's interesting, because other people who have experienced a situation similar to ours have the same reaction. We all have a physical response to the sound, the visual, the lights, the uniforms. These life-saving crusaders represent death to us. Hopelessness. The beginning of the end.
That morning, January 26, the EMTs were the first responders. They arrived within 4 minutes of us placing the 911 call. And, they were amazing. I can't even imagine the scene from their perspective. The snowy, ice-covered front walk leading up to our house. They entered the front hallway and ran to our bedroom, led by my screams. There is Momma, in her bathrobe trying to talk to the 911 operator while Dadda administered CPR. Peanut, you were on the hardwood floor since it was the best, flat surface for CPR.
The EMTs took over immediately. They ordered Momma to get dressed - with shoes and an overcoat - since we were leaving ASAP. Before I knew it we were running across the snow covered front lawn and entering the ambulance, while Dadda was following behind in one of our cars. We had no idea which hospital, which ER. Just getting on the road. We live so far away from "everything" - the closest hospital is 20 minutes away. This is one reason we are planning to move to a new house, a new area. Closer to hospitals.
It was just after 6:10 in the morning. The rush hour traffic was beginning to build. But, the ambulance driver took charge, and Dadda followed right on our bumper. The driver kept Momma informed, minute by minute. What they were doing to save you. Where we were turning. And I prayed. Cried. Felt numb. More than anything, I believed in my heart they could save you even though my brain knew you were gone.
When we got to the hospital, the ambulance driver was deliberate about not letting Momma out of the ambulance. He wanted to make sure I didn't try to stand until there was someone to catch me when or if I fell or fainted. But, once we were all inside the ER, once you were pronounced dead, it was a different story. The EMTs, nurses and doctors who worked on you were all destroyed that day. This beautiful, loved little boy with his short, blonde hair and deep blue eyes. And his devastated parents.
I don't ever want to ride in an ambulance again. Never want to watch the traffic pull aside to let us pass. I don't want to smell the antiseptic scents, or hear the sirens directly above my head. Every time I hear that noise my mind's eye sees me in that passenger seat, turning around in desperation, to see if her Peanut is breathing, moving, laughing. Watching her future slip away.
No matter how many years pass, the sound of an ambulance will probably always make Momma tremble. It will always catapult me back to that day. That morning. That feeling of panic and desperation.
Peanut, I share this tonight because it has been weighing on my mind. It was time to share. Time to remember those stark, terrifying minutes. Time to acknowledge them, name them, and strip them of their power.
What happened that morning is just that. What happened that morning. Your life, your love, your light represent so much more. More love, growth, joy than I can ever express in words. So tonight, I simply sum it up as I do every night....I love you, Peanut. To the moon and back.