December 22, 2011
“NOOO!” I screamed, dropping to my knees. My son’s still warm, lifeless body still in my arms. Why? Why my beautiful little boy? What did I do to deserve this? Had I really been that bad that I deserved to lose the two most important people in my life?
“WELL?!” I screamed, louder this time, making my throat hoarse. Willing my silent questions to be answered.
“ANSWER ME YOU BLOODY COWARD,” I cried, causing nurse Rosemary to come running into my room. I stopped screaming, falling backwards onto the floor. Rocking myself back and forth a cradling my lifeless angel close to me, as if I were soothing him.
“Why? Why did you do it Johnathon?” I asked the tears unwilling to relent now that they had started. “Was it not enough that I lost you? You had to take my son away too?”
Looking down at my son, I took in everything about him. He looked so peaceful. I tried desperately to ingrain every inch of his body into my mind so that I wouldn’t forget him. My heart broke as I looked at how small he was, how small he would always be. A constant reminder that I failed him, failed as a mother, failed as a wife.
Failed at everything.
I hadn’t noticed that the nurse still stood in the room watching me intently.
“Ahem,” Rosemary coughed, trying to get my attention. I looked up, startled, only now remembering she was in the room.
I tried to ignore her, hoping that she would leave me alone with my son. The time I had with him now was precious, and she was ruining it.
“Mrs. Walker?” she asked, trying to get my attention.
“Don’t call me that,” I replied in a firm voice. She just looked at me, bviously confused. I certainly wasn’t going to explain to her that I didn’t want to be called that. Why it reminded me of my dead lover. Why I was angry at him for taking our baby and leaving me alone.
“Er… Mrs., uhm… Esme? It’s time,” she said to me, undoubtedly trying her best to sound sympathetic – but I could still hear the annoyed undertone in her voice.
I looked at her more confused than ever before. What did she mean? Time for what?
“It’s time to take … Robert downstairs,” she said, partially answering my unspoken question.
I still didn’t understand though.
“What do you mean? Time for him to go downstairs. He’s not going anywhere. He’s staying with me, where he belongs.”
“Mrs. Wal…” – she paused, catching her own mistake - “Esme,” she corrected. “We have to take Robert to the morgue.” Her voice was firm.
“No,” I hissed, pulling his body even closer to mine, he wasn’t going anywhere. My baby needed his mom. I wasn’t going to let a stranger take my baby away from me. He needed me more now than ever. My son didn’t belong in a morgue; he belonged with me. He would get cold in the morgue – he needed my body heat to keep him warm.
“Mrs. Esme,” Rosemary sighed, an unflattering tone now evident in her voice. I knew she was becoming more and more annoyed with my defiance. “I am really sorry about your son. Truly I am. But we need to take him now.” Didn’t she understand? Is it so hard to understand that I needed to have him close to me. That I couldn’t let him go.
“Over my dead body!” I spat, turning on my bottom so that I was no longer facing her. “Wake up baby, please wake up,” I whispered into my sons fine whispers of hair. I knew it was a feeble attempt, but I was desperate. I needed him to wake up, needed to hear his sweet cry again. The babies cry was coming from the next room and the urge to scream through my tears over took me. Where was that babies mother? Why wasn’t she caring for him?
“Esme don’t do this,” Rosemary sighed. I heard her walking slowly, almost warily towards me and a few seconds later she placed her hand on my shoulder. “You have to let go.”
“Never,” I scowled, shaking her hand of my shoulder. I didn’t want this heartless woman touching me. Who was she telling me to let go? I should be telling her to let go of her ridiculous idea.
My tears were falling thick and fast from my face now and some of them were landing with an almost silent splash on Robert’s cheek. “Sorry angel,” I whispered as I reached my hand up to slowly wipe the tears away. It was a harrowing sight, the place my tears had landed on his face made it look as if he was crying. How I wished that was so. I would never hear him cry again, never again wipe tears from his eyes. The sobs made my body shake as I took my time wiping the tear drops away, brushing his skin only slightly and ignoring the pleas coming from Rosemary behind me.
“Come back Robert,” I cried “Please come back.” I continued stroking his face as the tears fell onto him. I heard Rosemary saying something about a doctor and then she left the room again. I continued looking at my boy, still willing for him to wake up, to look at me.
“Mrs. Walker?” Rosemary’s not too familiar voice called from somewhere behind me.
“What did I just tell you about that? ” I stopped talking as I turned and saw a small team of doctors by the door, blocking any exit from the room. “What’s going on?” I asked, panic rising in my throat.
“It’s time to say goodbye now Mrs. Walker,” one of the doctors sighed as he took a few slow steps towards me.
“What is going on?” I repeated clutching Robert closer to my chest as I noticed the needle in the doctor’s hand.
“It’s time to say goodbye to Robert now,” the doctor repeated as he came to stand in front of me. I looked pleadingly up into his eyes which seemed to be mirroring my pain. “I am so very sorry,” he whispered as he leaned in to me.
“No! Robert! No!” I screamed desperately as I felt the sharp prick of a needle in my arm.
I was drowsy when I woke up, as if I had been sleeping forever. The first thing I noticed was that someone had dressed me. The clothes seemed to weigh heavily on my chest. I kept my eyes rested shut when I heard the door open. The last thing I needed was for them to poke and prod me with more needles – not if it left me feeling like this.
My arms felt painfully empty by my sides and I fought the urge to wrap them around myself as I heard the faint footsteps come towards my bed. They stopped at the end of my bed and I concentrated all my effort in keeping my eyes pressed closed.
“I’m sorry,” whispered a musical voice.
There was a slight rustle of paper and then the footsteps began to head away again. I opened my eyes only slightly to see a young man leave the room. He was dressed in a white shirt and faded grey pants. He walked with undeniable grace. As he reached the door he turned back to look and me and smiled sympathetically. I was still drowsy because of the drugs they had given me, but even through my daze I wasn’t able to mistake how young and beautiful my visitor was. His facial features seemed so familiar to me – and yet at the same time I was certain I had never seen him before. He turned away again, walked out the door and was gone.
As the door shut a beautiful cry filled my ears, waking me instantly. “Robert!” I breathed, leaping out of the bed. Had it all been a dream? It must have been. Robert was here. The noise of the door had startled him. I practically jumped forward to the crib at the end of my bed and looked into it. I could feel the relieved smile fall off my face as I looked into the crib.
It was empty.
It hadn’t been a dream, it had been real. My baby was really gone. I reached down and pulled his hand-knitted blue blanket from the crib and placed it against my chest as my sobs broke free again while I sank back into the bed. I breathed in the scent of Robert on his blanket; the scent I was already missing so badly.
It was only then that I noticed the piece of paper at the end of the bed. Out of mere curiosity I opened it up. Before even reading the wording, I noticed how elegant the handwriting was.
To my Darling Mommy, there are some things I’d like to say.
But first of all, I have to tell you that I have arrived okay.
I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with Dad above.
Here, there’s no more tears of sadness;
Here is just eternal love.
Please don’t be unhappy that I’m out of sight.
Remember that I am with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through.
Dad picked me up and hugged me and He said, “I welcome you.”
It’s good to have you back again,
You were missed while you were gone.
As for your darling mother, she’ll be here later on.
I need you here badly, you’re part of my plan.
There’s so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man,”
Dad gave me a list of things that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night the day’s chores put to flight.
Dad and I are closest to you….in the middle of the night.
I wish that I could tell you all that Dad has planned.
If I were to tell you, you wouldn’t understand.
But one thing is for certain, though, my life on earth is over.
I’m closer to you now, than I ever was before.
There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
But together we can do it by taking it one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I’d like it for you too;
That as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.
If you can help somebody who’s in sorrow and pain;
Then you can say to yourself at night……”My day was not in vain.”
And now I am contented…that my life was worthwhile.
Knowing as I passed along the way I made somebody smile.
So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low;
Just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you’re walking down the street
and you’ve got me on your mind;
I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.
And when it’s time for you to go, for that body to be free.
Remember you’re not going…..you’re coming home to me.
When I was finished reading I looked back towards the doorway. Had the young beautiful figure been an angel? An angel sent to bring me a letter from my baby? I re-read it a number of times and then pressed it to my chest along with Robert’s blanket. Was this really him was letting me know he was alright?
An hour or so later a nurse bought me in something to eat. I was relieved to learn that Rosemary’s shift was over and subsequently she had gone home. The new nurse insisted I ate before I could go home. I half nibbled at the food, my appetite practically non-existent as the tears continued to flow down my face. Half an hour later – and having only managed a potato and a few bites of my undercooked pie – I pushed the plate away.
“I’m going home,” I told the nurse. She glanced up at me from her paperwork. My tone left no room for argument as I picked up Robert’s blanket and letter before heading towards the door. Nobody stopped me, or even so much as looked at me as I walked off the ward and eventually out the front exit.