Thursday, September 22, 2011

How can I help him heal?

He is a truth seeker. Every day he searches for a way to find blame with himself for the accident. Why didn't they stay five minutes longer at the park? Why didn't they go to the restaurant where Lauren wanted to go? would have taken longer. Why didn't he go a different route, instead of the one he usually took? Why did they take the dogs? Why didn't he put her in a five-point harness car seat (even though she was really too tall for one)? Why, why, why, why....'how can I go on living' is the question he asks himself a hundred times a day. I listen to him and try to reassure him that there is only one person to blame, and it is not he. The investigator has spent hours with him doing the same. It is breaking my heart that I've not only lost a precious granddaughter, but now it seems I am losing my son as well...the only son I have left.

The investigators are almost positive that she was texting, or at the very least making a phone call. There seems to be no other explanation for the complete lack of attention to her driving. They have subpoenaed the telephone records from her carrier. They do know that she had a dropped call at 1:47 p.m., and the first 911 call came in at 1:48, and she made a call to her husband at 1:49. The prosecutor was dismayed that the (older, not tech-savvy) officer at the scene didn't confiscate her phone as he should have, but he did note the time of her dropped call. 

I was mistaken about her having just left a funeral. She had attended one that morning, but afterward had lunch with her husband, and was heading back to work, probably in a hurry. She admitted that she saw the deer crossing the road and the car that was also stopped in the opposite lane, that she placed her foot on top of the brake, but she didn't see their vehicle, and she didn't depress the brake pedal. The investigators determined mathematically that she had anywhere from five to eight seconds to react. Five to eight seconds. Count it out. Even if she had seen them at the last second and had braked, it might have saved Lauren's life. She was going 55-60 mile per hour and hit a stopped vehicle, on a straight, flat road, in good weather, in broad daylight. She has hired the most powerful law firm in Dayton. 

The prosecutor says that he will charge her with nothing less than vehicular manslaughter, but he will try to make a case for vehicular homicide, neither of which carries more than a slap on the wrist, because they are misdemeanors. And because they are not felonies, even if convicted, she will not have it on her record permanently. Slight justice for the walking wounded.

But I don't really care about that. I just want my son to be whole again.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday Serenade

The honey-smooth voice of Johnny Hartman and golden tenor sax of John Coltrane.


You are so beautiful and I am a fool
to be in love with you
is a theme that keeps coming up
in songs and poems.
There seems to be no room for variation.
I have never heard anyone sing
I am so beautiful
and you are a fool to be in love with me,
even though this notion has surely
crossed the minds of women and men alike.
You are so beautiful, too bad you are a fool
is another one you don't hear.
Or, you are a fool to consider me beautiful.
That one you will never hear, guaranteed.

For no particular reason this afternoon
I am listening to Johnny Hartman
whose dark voice can curl around
the concepts of love, beauty, and foolishness
like no one else's can.
It feels like smoke curling up from a cigarette
someone left burning on a baby grand piano
around three o'clock in the morning;
smoke that billows up into the bright lights
while out there in the darkness
some of the beautiful fools have gathered
around little tables to listen,
some with their eyes closed,
others leaning forward into the music
as if it were holding them up,
or twirling the loose ice in a glass,
slipping by degrees into a rhythmic dream.
Yes, there is all this foolish beauty,
borne beyond midnight,
that has no desire to go home,
especially now when everyone in the room
is watching the large man with the tenor sax
that hangs from his neck like a golden fish.
He moves forward to the edge of the stage 
and hands the instrument down to me
and nods that I should play.
So I put the mouthpiece to my lips
and blow into it with all my living breath.
We are all so foolish,
my long bebop solo begins by saying,
so damn foolish
we have become beautiful without even knowing it.

~Billy Collins~