I rushed to follow the gurney where my son lay, strapped down and pale as a ghost, barely breathing. Confusion. The world blurred and then sharpened.
For a moment all was silent.
Then fear stabbed my belly over and over with hot white pain, and everything was hyper-focused and rushed into me all at once, making me dizzy and
somewhat disoriented. I had one goal. Stay with Blane.
The flash of police lights and emergency vehicles, the rough shouts of men and women, the nauseatingly bright yellow-green of the EMTs vest, the
multicolored cars rolling by slowly, faces gawking, phones out to film, the sight of blood, the smell and taste of copper and exhaust, the heat of the
pavement, the refraction of the light on the smashed glass of the windshield throwing rainbows onto the crushed car, onto my hand, the glint of sun
off the chrome of the ambulance — it all crashed into my senses with surreal and dizzying intensity.
There was a professional sense of panic in the air as the EMT’s and ambulance personnel rushed to lift him into the back of the vehicle, where I
could see the neat organization of equipment and a woman ripping open a syringe to fill it with something from a med bottle.
“Go, go, go!” someone shouted as I threw myself up into the back to ride with them, dodging the fast paced, methodical motions of the men and
woman trying to save my boy. Oh God he was turning grey and his lips were tinging purple. There was blood.
The doors slammed shut, the engine roared and the siren blared out. We lurched forward. I struggled for balance for a moment, on my metal bench
where I tried to just stay out of the way while they worked. They ignored me and I did my best to become the wall.
They slapped electrodes on and a monitor while I watched, frozen, quiet, shocked. His pulse was very slow, his blood pressure tanking, his oxygen
levels at 89 percent. 89? That was low, wasn’t it?
It all hit me in that moment. He was dying. Blane was dying…
“Oh God Oh God Oh God…” I prayed internally, my heart a shaman’s drum, the pounding of my pulse meeting the rhythm of that call. “Let him
Live!” I shouted inside my mind to every angel, every god, to the Source of All Being, to the vast infinite void with a primal, desperate scream,
throwing my anguish into the heavens, asking, demanding, defiant. I felt them listening up there, watching, all those Devine Beings who could do
Something when we mere mortals had failed. And then I slumped, closing my eyes for a minute, struggling against tears.
It was an accident. He was driving. A truck was changing lanes and didn’t see him. He honked. We slammed the side-rail on the rider’s side
while the truck plowed into us, metal screeching like a banshee, a blur of terror and pain. Then utter stillness. We were trapped against the truck
and the safety railing. I couldn’t move.
It seemed like forever before someone came to help. Then ambulances arrived screaming along with police and EMTs. Jaws of Life cut us out. I was
fine, somehow, but Blane…
“My baby,” I whispered, tears rolling down my cheeks as I saw all too clearly how fragile he was, how near to crossing over, to letting go.
“You can do it. Think of all you have yet to do! Think of your dreams, your just starting college, think of your LIFE. Oh God…”
I felt dizzy and suddenly, disoriented, everything was running together like a watercolor painting and I was drowning in weeping colors…
I was sitting in the ICU watching monitors and seeing the “tree” of medicines next to his bed with IV lines snaking and tangling up to his arm,
where a PICT-line had been surgically inserted. He was intubated, a machine breathing for him. Chest tubes leaked bloody fluid from his body into
plastic containers - four of them. His oxygen was back to 99% and his color was much better. I had the oddest sensation that I missed
something…that I couldn’t remember quite how I got to the room. Shock, I told myself. I’m in shock.
I tried to catch up, wondering how I could really have forgotten everything that led to him getting here…must have been a couple of hours at
A pair of doctors walked in, flipping through Blane’s chart. “He’s responding but we’ve got to get him into surgery today…I’ve got him
scheduled to go in…” he checked his watch, “at 3:00, so we need to send him down in about an hour.”
Surgery? What was wrong? I cleared my throat to ask but the doctors were leaving already. I stood up and followed them to the door. Suddenly I grew
dizzy and realized I wasn’t okay. I needed to sit back down. I dropped, squatting, my head between my knees until the feeling passed. Then I
crawled back to my chair, pulling myself into it to close my eyes for a moment, then I looked back at Blane in the bed.
I blinked. My son’s bed was in a slightly different position, there was a second “tree” of medicines to go with the first one, and a doctor, a
woman, whom I didn’t see or hear enter the room, was standing over him. I stood carefully, and went beside her to look and saw she was checking the
surgical sites. There was an incision up the middle of his abdomen with what looked like hundreds of stitches. I gasped. They’d opened him up to
stop the internal bleeding. I felt dizzy again.
The room became bright for a moment, a high pitched ringing entered my brain and I staggered, grabbing the rail of his bedside. I opened my eyes.
The doctor was gone. My son stood next to me, looking down at the incision on his belly. I gasped. “Blane?”
He looked at me, his handsome face wistful. “It’s okay, mom, I just don’t want to be in there right now. They said this was okay.”
“Who said it was okay? What is happening?” I looked back and forth from his broken body on the bed to him standing next to me, whole and
“I don’t know what they are, but they said it was okay. Look, mom, I’m going to come through all this. It’s going to change everything, but
it’s the beginning of something new. They told me about it. I’ve got a mission now. I’m going to become a doctor when this is all over. And
I’m going to make a difference.”
“A doctor? That’s great! But…”
“Mom,” he said, taking my hands, “I heard all your prayers. Your encouragement. You helped me make the decision to stay.”
“I heard you. Now it’s time for you to go. They’re waiting.”
“What?” I said again, a panic setting in.
“You didn’t make it, Mom,” Blane said, his eyes shining with tears. “You…you hit the windshield and died while we waited for help. I held
your hand. I tried to tell you I loved you but I couldn’t talk. But it’s okay. You will be able to see me from where you are going, if you
want. You can keep track of me. They said that you could. And we’ll meet up when it’s all over.”
I stared at him, uncomprehending, unwilling, stunned. The room grew brighter around him, until the hospital was gone, and he was the only one there,
with me, in an amorphous light, a vast space with no real floor, no ceiling, no “place” to it other than a sense of “presence.”