I know you have your head in your hands, but what will you take out of your pockets?
“There isn’t much left. I’ll leave it as is. No one else will be interested.”
“Thank you,” the man said. “I’ll take it.” It looked like it meant the same on his face.
I could see the fear in him, the worry. He’d lost his life. Had been stabbed in the neck. I didn’t want to see that, but it seemed so inevitable. There was no way around this.
As usual, in the few seconds that I was on the phone with him, I couldn’t tell if his grief was more real or imagined. I was trying to get him to talk about the events of the day before, the things he had to do. I didn’t feel any real compassion for him; I just wanted to get the whole story.
“They were the most terrifying part of his journey,” the woman said to me, as we moved on to the second story of the schoolhouse. “I don’t think it was ever a day that he wouldn’t be thinking about them. The whole time he was in that hospital, I thought about them a lot. But when I was done…he had no idea why it all happened. There was nothing he could have done. Just a stroke, a sudden fall, and the worst moment of his life was almost over just like that.”
I was still feeling the grief, though.
“Did he tell you about the police?” said this person. What would you have done, I wondered. Would you have made the call?
As for my reaction, I was sure I would have. I knew exactly what my choices were: If I had asked a doctor about a stroke in an emergency room, the nurse would have told me, “it’s a very serious condition. Not much of a chance you can recover. Please seek medical advice.”
But if I had asked a doctor, or anyone for that matter, about this child’s death, I’d almost certainly have been told, “there was no chance.” Or worse, “there was no hope.” That was simply how things were at the time.
When I finally left the hospital, that was about two weeks ago. I couldn’t imagine being there when I saw my son again; I couldn’t imagine how he would know I could even be listening. Would he know from me
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