Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Losing a Piece of Me Forever - Part One

When I look back at the carefree posts written when I first began this blog, I almost cannot believe that I was the person who wrote them.  In just a few short years, life has changed in more ways than I could have ever imagined. 

Many people have asked me why I had stopped writing my blog.  And I never really had a good answer, other than that my need to share my emotions and experiences had diminished, along with my free time.  So my blog slowly petered out in a natural fashion. 

My desire to blog came back with a vengeance in the weeks following October 18, 2014.  A date that I will never forget.  Ever.  My need to blog was fierce.  I would compose blog posts in my head.  But the energy to actually write one was nowhere to be found.

You see, October 18, 2014 is the day that my mom and uncle were killed in a car accident.  It still feels surreal to type this, 7 months later, even though I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is very, very real.

It was a day no different from any other.  Reading through my texts weeks after the accident revealed that my big plans for the weekend had included hitting up Target for some awesome flannel onesie adult pyjamas and maybe picking up a pair of on-sale pants from RW&Co for one of my best friends.  

A text to my mom, just 1 hour and 12 minutes before their fatal car accident reads "where r u guys?".  A text that was to go forever unanswered.  Though I did not have the faintest idea of this, as I headed off to swimming lessons with my two preschoolers.

Saturday swimming lessons ended at 3pm, as usual.  I was in the change room with both kids, getting them dressed, when my cell rang.  An area code 613 number.  "Huh...?", I thought to myself, hesitant to answer.  My cell is also my business line and I didn't want to end up on a work call, on the weekend, with my two kids around.  And then oddly, I thought "maybe it's Uncle Rob, calling to tell me when they will be getting here". 

My mom and Uncle were driving out to visit us to celebrate my daughter, Chloé's 3rd birthday.  Although it was not at all logical that my Uncle would be calling from a Cornwall phone line (rather than his own cell), this conclusion led me to pick up the phone.

The rest is a blurr, interspersed with pockets of excruciatingly detailed memories.  "This is the Ontario Provincial Police".  Howling that I did not know I was capable of producing.  Stares from everyone around me.  Strangers stopping dead in their tracks at the scene I was making.  The elderly man who came over, put his hand on my shoulder, and asked if I needed any help.  Logan and Chloé's stricken faces as they struggled to comprehend why their mother had suddenly turned into a wild animal, right before their eyes.  The other mother we were with, repeatedly reassuring me that everything was going to be ok, when deep in my gut, I knew there was only a small chance that this might actually be true.  Leaving my children in her care, while I ran outside to call my family members.  My brother had been informed, but no one else was yet aware.

Aware that the O.P.P. officer had told me that my uncle was dead.  Aware that my mother was in critical condition, with plans to airlift her to the Ottawa Civic hospital.  Aware that their lives had already been changed forever and that they did not even know it yet.  Aware that they were going to feel shattered in a way that none of us could have ever even imagined. 

I acutely remember my conversation with my father.  I had assumed that he would have already been informed.  It became blatantly evident when he picked up the phone that he had no idea what had happened.  I tried to hold it together, though I'm sure that I did far from that.  "Dad?", I asked tentatively.  "Have you talked to anyone?"  And he had not.  So on I went, announcing to him that his brother-in-law was dead and that his wife was in critical condition.  A memory that is forever etched into my brain.

Alongside the nurse's tone, when I worked up the courage to ask her if my mother might die.  The long pause, followed by a grave "your mother is in very critical condition".  Pause.  "But there is always hope".  And so began our separate races to the Ottawa hospital, coming from Ste. Catharine's, Woodstock, Bradford and Montreal.  Minutes that felt like hours and hours that felt like days.