It was a dark and stormy night. The moon was bright and full and the wind whistled as it swept gracefully across my beach house windows. I sat alone gazing out of the large sliding glass doors in my living room which reveal a beautiful view of a private beach. On this night, despite such a storm, the sea seemed to have an unusual calmness revealed through the gentleness of its waves. I leaned my face upon the glass to feel the dampness on my cheeks and listen to the beat of the raindrops closer to my ear. I stood leaning against the door for a while as let my thoughts wonder freely through my mind hoping to figure out why my mood matched the dark dreariness of the night. I mentally sorted each thought with careful attention to the negative and positive. My heart began to sink into my chest and my breathing became heavy causing steam to form on the glass in the shape of a circle. I felt more connected to nature as ever and wondered if its energy would offer any consolation to the negative thoughts paining my heart. I felt my every positive thought escape me leaving only the painful remembrance of what had happened earlier that summer.
What a bitter sweet summer it was indeed, and I pondered the thought of what could have been the happiest time of my life yet ended up leaving me to wonder if I should be allowed such a luxury as happiness. Early that August, my boyfriend and I had set out on a wonderful, relaxing vacation to Jamaica full of tropical drinks, water sports, luxurious meals, and beautiful scenery. My passion for the ocean was fueled by my eagerness to indulge in the warm, clear, blue water that coated Jamaica. We shuffled to and from airports, through security and the usual hectic endeavor of traveling. Finally we stepped off the last plane and the warm tropical air swept my long blonde hair away from my face, allowing me to gaze upon palm trees of all sizes and greenish tones I had never seen before. I knew there was still the Customs security to get through before my feet could hit the sand so I scurried to gather my luggage and walk down the lobby to wait in line. As I walked I thought of my family. They never really got out of the states much and visions of my amazing eight year old son began to flash through my mind. I decided to prompt my boyfriend to stop for just a second before waiting in what looked like the longest security line I had ever seen. I searched through my purse to grab for my cell phone and make a quick call to my son letting him know I had arrived safely and how beautiful the scenery was. I turned my phone on and it began to alert me of text messages I had received while in flight. One beep, then another, followed by another. With each alert my heart sunk and my thoughts wondered on what may be the cause of so many different family members trying to get a hold of me in such a demanding manner. I began to collect myself enough to read what these text messages revealed. The first from my Mom- 911. The second from my older brother’s fiancé, the closest sibling to me in age and relationship, and another 911. The third my younger brother alerting another 911. I froze for a moment flooded with thoughts of what the cause of this emergency had been. I felt the air in my lungs had stopped feeding me, and a cold nervous, anxiety ridden feeling engulfed me. I thought of who I shall call first and quickly decided on my mother. She answered frantically with a raspy voice sounding as if she had been crying. Through her heavy breathing I learned that my older brother, Mike, had been in a dirt biking accident and broke his back and neck and the doctors were saying he may never walk again. I felt the world around me creep in on me as if I was all alone in a black abyss. I gasped for air enough to tell my boyfriend of the terrible news and could no longer steady my body, thus having to lean on the wall for stability. I was all too familiar with those words from the doctor, as my son’s father had also broken his neck and was now permanently paralyzed and in a wheelchair for the remaining years of his dependent life. I sat down and dropped my head to my knees and wept. Tears owned my face and my eyelids and felt so heavy I had to close my eyes for comfort. My boyfriend held me in his arms and at that moment I felt like escaping from my every thought. I was in another country unable to help in anyway. I felt helpless wondering how I could possibly continue with my dream vacation with such a heavy heart and riddled with anxiety. I wept in the arms of my love for a while longer while thoughts for a reason of why another devastating accident could be present in my life again.
After two hours of waiting in line to pass through customs, which do not allow the use of a cell phones, I had decided to seek the advice of all my family members as to stay in Jamaica or try to get to Las Vegas to sit by my brother’s bedside, as he lay in a coma unaware of how this accident will change he life as he knew it. My family advised me there was nothing I could do and it was best to stay in Jamaica and make the best of the trip since devastation and pain were present in the hearts of all who stood by my brother. Scared and unsure, I wiped more hot tears from my face, asked for the help of any and all higher powers to be with us all, and told myself to keep a positive state of mind and allow the beauty of the Island to ease my pain.
My boyfriend and I indulged in all the resort had to offer for activities to keep my mind busy as I continued to get updates on my brother’s unchanging condition. On the night before our scheduled departure which now led us to Las Vegas rather than home to Massachusetts, we decided to take a walk on the beach and watch the beautiful colors of the sunset escape into the earth. I noticed my boyfriend a bit fidgety and thought of how this news may be affecting him as well. We walked just a short distance when he stopped me, grabbing my arm gently and pulling me close. He asked me to share the rest of my life with him and placed a beautiful shiny diamond on my finger when I responded with great joy. Our eyes met and I knew he was my soul mate, and at that very moment while the sunset in the background all the pain in my heart subsided and my soul felt free as the birds that circled around us. Although the joy of our new engagement thrilled me, I wondered how he must have felt knowing he had planned to ask me to marry him yet hearing the news of the accident and watching it affect my on so many levels.
On the plane ride the next morning I looked at the flawless diamond in awe and watched as its reflection gleamed off the window next to me. I couldn’t help but think if I should be happy. A new amazing chapter of my life was just about to begin, but I wondered why at the same time as my brother’s life could come to an end? These thoughts never left my mind. I carried them to the hospital bed where I watched my now heavily sedated brother covered in breathing tubes and medical equipment, of which I couldn’t fathom understanding. I stood holding his hand wondering what he may be dreaming of as he rested so still and with a pale, blank expression. I watched my family weep all around the hospital room. I wondered if the joy of my engagement would lift their spirits, or if that was a selfish subject to present at such a sad dark moment in their confused lives. I thought of how happy my brother would be to hear of my engagement. He was like a father to me and I longed to see his expression when the news was revealed to him, if I ever got the opportunity. I stood by his bedside and whispered to him that I was present, and just got engaged. I saw his eyes open enough to see me and he smiled as he squeezed my hand before falling back into a medical induced sleep. I left the hospital to head home to my son and my new fiancé, still burdened with the guilt of feeling happiness for my new life.
The rain began to hit the glass slider heavier and louder than before and I opened my eyes and wondered how long I had been remembering the details of what happened earlier that summer. I wondered if, like this storm I knew would soon pass, would also the guilt and unsureness of my heart ever subside. This thought plays over and over in my mind as I still am faced with the devastation of brother’s accident and the excitement of my new engagement, trying with all my heart to figure out what emotion I should allow myself to feel. To this very day I still am pained with this wonder, but stay hopeful of a miracle