Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Christmas Eve, 1993

Baton Rouge General Hospital
Christmas Eve, 1993

   Jen is restless, back under the surface, finally quieting before dawn. An early morning trip home, a shower, thinking about the two hours yesterday that Jen surfaced and treaded water, looking around at all of us in the room, anxiety attacking constantly. I don’t crawl into bed like I want after showering but drop by Ronnie McCallum’s for a quick visit then on out to Laurie’s. While waiting for her before going to my mother’s, I crawl under a blanket on the couch and doze. Have to laugh when I am startled awake by the sound of an IV machine on Days of Our Lives.
   The trip out to Walker to eat gumbo and visit family while watching the kids tear open presents doesn’t last long. Not like previous all day affairs when all of us get together and spend the entire evening laughing and reminiscing only about the good times, my father feeding the dressing to the dogs, Dee and I in the yard putting a trampoline together in ten degree weather, our fingers sticking to the circular metal, trying to stretch cold springs that give only slightly; and on Christmas Eve longer ago, sometimes my father and I fish, or he, Wayne, Willie perhaps, maybe his son, Dennis, will squirrel hunt early in the morning, the mist rolling close to the ground, the anticipation of presents to come the true Christmas gift.

   Visitors all day long. Jen is much shallower, as Dr. Rogers once said, aware of all noises, movements in the room, greetings and touches from family and friends. For a few moments she emerges again, but her disoriented look which should be heartening is only heartbreaking.

1 comment:

  1. Breaking the surface, treading water, aware—all of it better than Christmas Eve gumbo on a brief and bittersweet holiday.