Jennifer's Story

 

It was a normal night for me and my family, My boyfriend at the time J.C. and I had just put the kids to bed and were settling down to watch a movie. Caiden (our youngest) was sick with a cold so he was up until around 8:00pm when he finally fell asleep. We had rented 'Dawn of the Dead' and had just started watching it when the phone rang. People usually did not call at that time of the night so i knew that it had to be something important. I answered and it was my Dad asking to speak with J.C. Being my usual self I made a joke about them having to talk about 'guy stuff' but my Dad did not laugh. That's when I knew that it was serious. I had been feeling weird for a while before the movie but I couldn't place as to why. I brushed it off as just being tired and having a new baby, so I didn't think much of it until my Dad called. That's when I started to worry.

J.C picked up the phone and started talking to my Dad. After a few seconds he got up and went downstairs, telling me to stay on the couch. I found it weird that he could not talk in front of me, seeing as how it was my dad on the phone. After about five minutes my curiosity got the best of me, so I went to the top of the stairs to try and listen to what they were saying. I don't quite remember what was said that made my heart start beating faster, but I could tell even by the tone of J.C.’s voice that something bad had happened. I don't know why but I thought of my grandfather or another family member when Jamie asked "Is he alright?". I thought someone had been hurt or had a heart attack. I did not think of my brother as I did not put him in that category of people. When you think someone who has had an accident, you never think of your siblings, but of the older people in your family. I sat at the top of the stairs until J.C hung up, and I waited for him to come upstairs. He sat down there for what seemed like a lifetime. Then he finally came to the stairs and asked me to come down. I did not understand why he couldn't come upstairs, but thinking about it now makes me realize that he didn't want me to scream upstairs and wake up the kids. I went and sat beside him and all he could do was look at me. I saw tears in his eyes and started to hug him when he openly cried on my shoulder. I tried to ask him what was wrong because I knew that it was something bad, because he doesn't make a habit of crying in front of me. As hard as I tried though, I could not get any words out. Finally he looked at me and said “you need to go to the hospital". I didn't ask why, but asked "who?" instead. He looked at me for a long time and then said "your brother". For some reason I did not need to ask what happened, because in my gut I somehow knew. I sat there for about five minutes, but in my head it felt much longer than that. My first instinct was to make sure I wasn't dreaming and that I had just heard him say what he had said. All I can remember of those first minutes was telling myself over and over in my head that it wasn't happening. Things like that did not happen to families like mine.

I tried to look for reason but was in too much shock to really make sense of anything. I wanted to cry and scream but nothing came out. I was a stranger to myself and it was J.C. who finally said that I should get going. I came back to reality long enough to phone my friend Jay and ask her for a ride as I do not drive. I can't remember exactly what I said when I called her, all I remember is getting there and seeing my younger sister Jodi in the entrance waiting for me. I don't think it really hit me then either until I got upstairs and saw my family in the ICU waiting room. At that point I still did not want to believe it and did everything I could to deny what I saw. Then my parents came to the room and that's when I realized that this was real, and that I was about to make myself aware of my surroundings. I can not explain the way my parents looked that night; there are no words to describe it. Being a mother myself I had only a vague idea as to what they were going through. Yet I will never lose that image of my family and the fact that I realized I would not see those same people ever again. When something tragic happens, you lose a part of yourself and you're never the same. That much was evident just by looking at them. My family's life was put on hold, and it seemed as though everyone was holding their breath waiting to cross over to what would now be our lives. Alot of that night is really vague  in my mind, as I was in shock and don't quite remember. I do remember not being able to sit still and pacing the hallways as I figured that if I sat down I would have to think about what was happening, and be forced to accept it. I still don't think that I fully accept it now, to this day. I remember lying beside my dad at about 1:00 in the morning, and telling him that it wasn't his fault. And asking him not to blame himself for what had happened. The days that followed remain blurry to me. In a way I consider myself lucky.