The toughest time in my life was so totally unexpected. I was at work. I was a directory assistant operator working a 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift. It was a Saturday and I was bored silly trying to slip and read my book in between calls. I was hoping they would offer E-Time (excused time). When it was slow, the manager could offer you the rest of the day off or give e-time in 15 minute increments. They kept a book you had to sign if you wanted e-time and it was given according to who signed the book first, how much time you were requesting, and if they wanted to take the chance that it wouldn’t get busy. Most operators signed up for any to guarantee they might get something, even if only 15 minutes.
That morning I got a call and right away recognized my husbands’ voice. That was the first time that had happened. Instead of him carrying on a conversation with me, he asked to be connected to the supervisor. I sat there fuming wondering what the heck was going on. Then the supervisor came over plug into my position with me.
“La Wanna, get your things together, you need to go home and please drive carefully.”
“What’s wrong,” I asked, but she only repeated to drive carefully. On the drive home I tried to figure out what was going on. I even thought maybe my husband had given her some excuse to get me home for some bed sport or maybe we had unexpected company.
When I arrived, I noted there were no cars other than his in the drive way. I went into the bedroom and found my husband sitting on the side of the bed hunched over and looking lost. I sat next to him and asked what was wrong.
He didn’t look at me as he started to speak.
“I got a call from Tamboura’s…”
I didn’t let him finish, I started screaming, “Don’t you tell me my son is dead! Don’t you dare!”
I don’t know how I knew that was what he was going to say. I just knew.
“He was on his way to visit Kathy. They think he was too tired after two weeks of field training and fell asleep behind the wheel.”
I couldn’t see straight. I didn’t want to hear the words and I got up and left the room for a few minutes before returning.
“How do you know this? The military comes to your house to tell you a thing like this. How do you know? Maybe someone is playing a joke!”
My husband shook his head and said no. His best friend called to tell us. All that day, I prayed it was a joke or maybe he was on one of those special forces mission and they were telling us this because he wouldn’t be in contact with us. I tried to think of all kinds of reasons why we had not heard from the military until late that afternoon when two military men showed up at our door.
Then it was real. I had lost my first born son. Your children don’t die before you! How could this have happened?
That was a tough time for me. It was made tougher, because I had to be strong for everyone. It seemed everyone forgot he was my son. I needed to grieve for him! And yet, I had to hold it together. To make all the necessary preparations, to help my other son’s and my husband through it all. That was one time I was angry with my husband, because he kept telling people I was okay. That I could handle it. I was falling apart on the inside and I couldn’t show it.
I survived it. I didn’t have a choice. I still had kids that needed me and they were taking their brother’s death pretty hard. Even my sisters, my brother, my dad and my mom. All of them depended on me and I wanted to scream at them, “He’s my son. You’re supposed to help me through this!” Of course, I didn’t. I did what I always did. I helped everyone else get through the loss.
My son had touched so many people lives. He made a huge difference. We ended up with standing room only at his service. My one big regret is he didn’t go the way I know he would have preferred and that is in the service of his country.
However, he managed to accomplish all the goals he had set for himself. I am glad of that. I wish he could have had his last desire, to marry the girl he was in love with. I am sorry to say we lost touch with her. I think, in my own way, I blamed her for making him promise to visit her as soon as he was back from his training. He should have rested. I guess seeing her was more important than rest. I can understand that.
If I ever get the opportunity, I would like to apologize to her for not keeping in touch. I know my son would not have liked me doing this to someone he loved.
I’m going to let go of this. Water is running down my face. I’m glad I wrote about it. I needed to let go of some of the hurt I have been carrying around.
Remember, let those you love know how you feel at all times because you never know when it might be the last time you see them. I make sure I say I love you to my family all the time. It means more for me now than it did before when I just said it without thought.
Tomorrow I will tell you of something I am proud of.
So until tomorrow, take care. lw
p.s. Don't forget to leave comments. At the end of my thirty days, I would like write about some things you are interested in. Take care. lw