Friday, October 31, 2008

Prompt 254: What was the longest day of your life?/Theatrical Muse

In a perfect world this would be an easy question to answer. In a perfect world, I could toss off a trivial answer about a busy shift in the ER, or maybe one of those never-ending days that every med-student was warned about on that very first day of Pre-Med. I don't live in a perfect world though and I'm finding it far too hard to narrow things down to just one day, so, I've decided I've no alternative but to include the two that seem to consistently jockey for dominance in my thoughts.

I don't think it would surprise anyone to learn that the day of the bombing in Vukovar holds one of the spots, for from the moment I heard the sound of the strike time might as well have stopped for me. Even after all these years I can call up the details of that day with amazing clarity. I wonder sometimes if that in itself isn't more of a curse rather than a blessing but, then I remember that without those memories I would have nothing of Danijela and my children to hold onto except the small black and white photograph of my wife and daughter taken at Jasna's fourth birthday. If I have any regrets about the memories of that day, it's that they almost always begin with the bombing and that means that while I can remember my last words to Danijela, and the feel of Jasna in my arms, my memory of Marko brings no comfort. For while both Danijela and Jasna were still alive when I reached them, my baby boy was not so lucky, and my first sight of him was merely one small hand which he'd freed from the debris that had buried him alive. I try not to think about how long he was trapped in the darkness before death claimed him. I try not to think about the thoughts that must have been going through his head, though I know he had to be wondering why his Mama and Tata didn't free him. Mostly though I simply pray that he went quickly, I don't want to think about what it would have been like for him if he didn't.

Equally memorable for me is the day of Joe's birth, and the events that led up to it. From the moment I was paralyzed, then intubated, and bound to that gurney I honestly thought I might not live to see my son's birth. Adding to that fear was the moment when I saw Abby outside the room, when she steadied herself on the door before her fall, and knowing that not only could I do nothing to help her, I couldn't even call for help. Worse though was seeing the blood and not knowing if she and Joe were dead or seemed to take a lifetime for someone to find her, to find us. Even then the nightmare wasn't over, from the long delivery, the struggle to get control of the bleeding and Abby's surgery, and Joe's fight for life. I have to wonder what we did, what he did, that would prompt God to put us through so much, and then in the next breath, I'm left grateful beyond words because both Abby and Joe made it through that day despite our worst fears.

There have been other days which came close to these, my captivity with Patrique in the Congo among them, but, I can't dwell on the past when I have so much now to look forward to. I have a future now, a wife and a son who I love and want to spend the rest of my life with. That's not to say there won't be days when my thoughts won't return to those days, on birthdays, Danijela and my anniversary, but, it's not like it used to be, Abby and Joe have seen to that. My life is here now, with my wife and my son, and while we may have our bumps in the road, I can honestly say this is where I belong, and that's a feeling I never thought I would know again.

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