Though seasons are expected, things are never what they seem.(Opening to a longer chapter)
|The warm morning light floods my room through the glow of the white curtains. I roll back and stretch my arms, taking in the softness of the moment. It must be ten o'clock already, a rarity for me to sleep this late. I feel the bed bounce and see Addison appear by my side.
"Mommy!" He squeals with excitement, before turning his attention to the dog who is waiting impatiently by the bedside.
Alex, my oldest daughter, saunters in the room wearing her oversized onesie pajamas that she got last Christmas. It's way too warm for fleece now, but at the first leaf-fall, she likes to break out her winter wardrobe. Yesterday we could actually open the windows and feel briskness in the air.
Matt follows her in, holding a cup of coffee in the mug that he bought me three years ago with the inscription that reads 'Good Morning, Beautiful'. "It's sixty-four degrees outside. Sunshine and turning leaves," he announces, with great enthusiasm. "I can't believe you slept this late. You okay?"
Finally Cammy, 'the middle child' as we like to call her because she hates it, wanders in sipping her hot chocolate. "I love this weather!" She holds her foot up, "I put my wool socks on, see?"
"That's worse than Oreo's dog breath!" Alex waves away the air in front of her face.
Amongst giggles, we discuss our plans for the day. Matt heads back to the kitchen to prepare brunch. Scents of bacon, coffee and sweet maple syrup flood the house and rumble our tummies. After about twenty minutes I join Matt in the kitchen and the kids stake their claim on the couches in the living room. As I'm refilling my coffee, my phone rings, displaying 'Stacy' on the screen. It's unusual for my sister to call this early.
"Hey!" I answer, excitedly.
"What are you doing?" Her tone, flat and hurried, does not match mine at all.
Something flurries in me, a small internal alarm that I try to suppress. I walk to the living room.
"I'm just hanging with the kids, waiting for brunch. What about you?"
"Are you sitting down?"
"I am now," I plop down on the corner of the couch moving Addison's legs aside.
"Actually, you might want to go into another room away from the kids," she says solemnly.
My heart sinks. I know what she's going to say before she says it. I don't want to hear it. I'm not ready. I've been worried about this for a long time. Please don't say it, Stacy. Let it be something else.
"It's mom." There it is. I don't want her to say any more. There's a long pause. I already know. My heart turns heavy and weighs down my breathing, which are both racing. My throat constricts. Maybe it's something else.
"She stayed here... at my house... last night," Stacy continues, sputtering like a choked engine. "We didn't even drink anything. Not a drop! We ate lobster and then watched TV. We were up late. I saw her checking her blood sugar level before she went to bed." The words began to race out of her mouth as if they would be blocked and cut off at the exit if not quick enough. "It was about two o'clock in the morning. I gave her chocolate, you know, because I would rather her levels be too high than too low. She loves that anyway. She seemed a little out of it, but it was late."
The last few sentences spark something. Anger swells up inside, like hot lava. Why does Stacy think it's okay to give mom chocolate? She knows what transpires from that.
"I don't' know what happened!" She continues. Everything is in slow motion it seems. "I did everything I could! I don't know what's happening." Her words muddle the air, and then disappear as if being swallowed up by quicksand.
"Ok," I say, trying to pull some logical thoughts together, something to ease the pressure. "Start with what is happening right now," I encourage, regretting furthering this at all.
"I found her. I mean... I came in her room...well, the spare room, this morning, where she was sleeping, you know. She was lying on her stomach... so still. She was so still, Angie! She looked white. I thought maybe her sugar level was low. I turned her over, and there was blood on her face. I saw that the wood brace in the window was on the floor next to her bed. Do you think she hurt herself on that wood brace somehow? Like maybe she grabbed it for balance in the dark or something?"
"Ok, Stacy. Breathe." My own breath was labored. The room darkened.
"I checked her pulse and couldn't feel it. I called an ambulance. Angie, I don't know what happened. We didn't' even drink last night! I gave her CPR until her heart started beating again. The paramedics are here now. The cops wouldn't let me in the room. Told me to get out."
"Cops?" The air in my lungs is thick and heavy, fighting against my voice. The information is in front of me, but it is rattling around like noisemakers. I can't make sense of this. I understand that my mom was going to the hospital. Again. This much is typical of her. She will be fine. Her blood sugar dropped too low and she did what she always does. She pushed it to the limit. She would be injected with glucose, stabilized and then probably repeat this again in the next week or so. She will return to her lifestyle of eating loads of sugar, because she can't stop herself, and then inject with too much insulin to try to manage it. This is mom's lifestyle. We're used to it. "What are the paramedics saying?"
"I don't know. They're bringing her out on a gurney. The cops won't even let me in the house now."
"What are you talking about?" Her voice mixes with the noise in my head and becomes incoherent, stabbing sounds. I thought she said paramedics but she keeps talking about cops. I imagined her in the room next to our mother but then she said something about cops not letting her in. Now I'm picturing Stacy standing outside, smoking a cigarette, surrounded by police. What are cops even doing there?
"This guy is such a ...." Stacy turns her head away from the phone and shouts something over her shoulder impossible to decipher, most likely vulgarities.
Male voices are speaking in the background. "Now this cold-hearted, piece of crap-ass cop won't even let me in my own house!" She shouts for effect in order for everyone to hear. "I have to go."