Monday, May 21, 2012

In Place

In Place

By Scott L. Vanatter, May 21, 2012. A poem in commemoration of our youngest daughter’s birth and her current pregnancy. She is now progressed to about the same stage where Becky and Sydney survived a pretty bad car accident. (Me too. Carrie was with my Mom, as Becky and I went out to lunch.)

Becky was seven months pregnant with Sydney when we were involved in an automobile accident in 1979. Our Volvo was totaled. Half the glass in our car shattered into thousands of tiny pea-sized pieces. Becky's side of the car was destroyed. The moon roof popped off. Her head must have hit the side of the car, or the pavement, or both. She was in the Intensive Care Unit for a week. She didn’t move a muscle for the first six hours. She had a massive concussion, and a 4-inch crack in her skull, but she fully recovered -- and Sydney was unharmed. NOTE: After the paramedics stabilized her head, neck and back, they drove us ever so slowly to the nearest hospital, Queen of the Valley. Later that night she stirred. The next day she awoke. The next week she came home, healthy and happy. Below are some of my impressions then and now.

What… is . . .

Out of place.
Can’t really see. Shouldn’t be
There. To my right,

In the corner
Of my eye I see Commotion
Where there should be

Pushing left
(The next moment)
Sound filling the inner
Quiet with bare

Outside pressing in,
The Ground, our ceiling
Inside, pain without feeling
(The next impulse)

It’s really happening.

A nightmare in place of the sight of my lovely wife.

(Slow motion)

Never ending, then
Another kind of

Fluids, oils, gently dripping down

Climbing out my door,
Upside down perfection.
My side, only one mar.

Running to her. Her door,
The imperfect confusion of a modern art.
Every thing is out of place.
Nothing in place.

Gently easing her body down onto the lining of the roof.
Softly resting on the hard exposed pavement.
She lays there across the hole in the roof.

Her eyes, closed.
Her face, blank and still.
Her body, absolute motionless.

(On a sudden)
Wild. Massive. Hard. Violent shaking.
A fountain of multicolor fluids, spreading up and out. And all over.
Seeming coming from everywhere.
It won’t stop. Inside
I scream, “No!”

How is this happening?
How is it even feasible?
With all the complexities and possibilities which exist in the world,
This cannot be happening

It won’t stop.


Then . . .

It does.
Quick. Suddenly. Finally.
It stopped.

But, then once more a terrible silence and stillness.

Visions of decades of single parenthood of two girls
Flash before my mind’s eye.

Immediately the whole scene comes and then goes
As I imagine our second child surviving to grow old.

But a new, better vision opens…
I reach for the consecrated oil. I anoint. I bless.
She does not yet stir,
But I am at peace.

The crowd gathers.
A neighbor calls out. I ask her to call my Mother.
She does not know my mother, but she locates and communicates to her
What happened
To us.

Medics finally arrive,
Performing their precautions.
Stabilizing her and my heart.

Too slowly, without rush
They casually, slowly, silently drive to Queen of the Valley.
No one moves out of the way.
No path is cleared.
No siren.

She will be okay and
There is no need to speed.
Or, perhaps she is in deep trouble and
It is useless to rush.
They don’t say.

Doctors there now care
For her.

Family arrives, before we do,
Yearning, praying, and caring . . .
For her.

I walk, I focus
On her.

I pace, I ask
About her.

Without sitting, I’m listening.

After the eternity of six hours,
She finally stirs. Then, falls
Back into slumber.

We must now leave, and ourselves try to sleep.
Restless, sleepless dreaming.

After looking in on our first daughter,
I am only half able to fully calm
My troubled heart.

On the new day,
We awake to see

At Last,
She awakened to
Greet us.

In place of our worry
Is (now) the inner assurance of the small, graceful smile

On her face.

Six months of vibrant, slow-motion, rolling and repeated, nightly dreams
Are a small price to pay for the privilege of decades together here
In addition to being together eternities upon glorious eternities.



Sydney said...

Wow Dad. That's great. Thanks for writing about that. It's weird that I am now as far along as mom was when you were in the accident!

Scott said...

Aw... Honey, Thanks. My heart sinks with feeling thinking of you going round and round . . . BUT, being born safe and sound about two months later. Where in the world would we all be if you had not survived that "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"! Love you (SO much).

Gina the Photographer said...

Wow. I remember Mom called me at work at the CTBA and I went to sit with Carrie and try to act like everything was fine. She had no idea. I was terrified.
You recall it too well. Puts a knot in my stomach !

I love you all.
Aunt Gina

"we went round and round" "and it was blue in der" quote from Sydney when hearing her Mom tell the story a few years later.

Scott said...

Turns out it was a family affair that day, and the ensuing days. The word terrified makes my stomach turn upside down. (I purposely did not include the "blue" etc., as this was something we heard years later. I was focusing on that moment. That day.

I did have her Sydney's cute comment in mind when I included "rolling" near the very end.

Thanks for your thoughts... memories.