A Postmodern Widoe – Inadequate Language – Chapter One
June 18th, 2011 by annmarie
Zavier said good-bye to his daddy in his daddy’s hospital bed.
Daddy said, “Say hello to Mickey Mouse for me.”
“Okay,” said Zav, and the pitter-patter of his feet could be heard slapping against the linoleum-floored hall as he ran, holding Uncle Matt’s hand, on his way to catch a plane to Disneyland, to the land of simulations and distortions.
“See you soon,” Daddy said.
“Okay,” said Zav, as he smiled for him one more time, pushed the buttons on his hospital bed, and made his daddy laugh with his make-believe pirate’s face. Zavi reached up to him with his dimpled, three-year-old hands, pressed his cheeks and gave him a kiss on his living lips.
I remember my son’s last kiss to his daddy, but not mine.
Peter had become sick with the flu two weeks earlier. His antibodies, which were supposed to fight a virus, turned on his red blood cells instead. It could have been the medication he was taking for his heart, or maybe a flu bug picked up in Florida, or maybe a scorpion carrying the sting of a smitten siren. Who knows? His red blood cells were gobbled up all of a sudden and then they clotted, or so they say. I’ve asked many specialists in the field of blood, “What happened? Why did he just die like that in the hospital?”
“We don’t know,” was the other standard answer.
It was Tuesday when Zavi said goodbye at the hospital, without his daddy or his mama for his journey. We were all supposed to be together, but on Monday, while we were packing the car for our meandering holiday down the southern California coast, Peter had collapsed in the bathroom and crawled up to our bed, on our altarstage. He had called for me with a scratch of sand in his throat, a flutter in his heart, and tears in his eyes. I had called the ambulance.
When the paramedics arrived they seemed disappointed that they had been called to a house for an emergency that, according to them, wasn’t an emergency. Ours wasn’t a house either, or rather, it was a house, but it had been a church and we were about half way done in our reconstructing church to home project. Because our bed was on what had once been the altar, the medics didn’t have room on the floor for the gurney The lifted Peter two steps down the stage, or altar, depending on the mood.
The men in blue uniforms with golden badges said Peter’s vitals weren’t alarming and they weren’t sure he needed to go to the hospital, but I insisted. I told them Peter had a history of arrhythmia and that he’d been taking folic acid for three days for a very low count of red blood cells. I said we were meeting Peter’s doctor at the hospital and that I didn’t dare drive him there by myself because I was afraid he might pass outenroute.
The gurney was raised to meet our bed, and Peter was safely delivered to the hospital where we could “aggressively” begin looking into this blood problem that had just begun sucking his bloodsong.
The first blood doctor wasn’t alarmed either, but we were alarmed, so we called in a new blood doctor. He was more alarmed. Even so, he said Peter could be out in a couple of days; after they transfused his blood and built up his red blood cells. My brother, Mark, was to be wed in San Diego on Saturday. We would meet up with everyone on Friday.
Instead, on Friday morning, in the wee-est of hours, Peter died.
When Zavi asks mommy why daddy died, I answer, “It was his time.”
“No Mommy, why did daddy die?”
“Daddy died because he got a bad flu bug in his blood. It made his body stop working. When your body stops working, you die.”
“No mommy, why did Daddy die?”
“I don’t know Zavi. I don’t know. It must have been his time to die.”