Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just Before Breakfast

A two year old, angelic, blonde-haired cherub stirred one glorious autumn morning and began to gurgle as the sunbeams bounced upon his wall. This toddler never cried when he woke, just played and tinkled and buzzed, such a sweet alarm.

She was was stirred gently by his Boticelli fingers toying with his Fisher Price plaything strapped tightly to the pine bars of his cot. Knobs were turned, bells were rung and telephone dials clicked to his happy awakening. She smiled in that semi-conscious euphoria that only an early morning, pre-breakfast Sunday sleep-in can invoke.

She lay there waiting, dozing, her man beside her curled sleeping, breathing deeply, naked and vulnerable. She longed for an extra 15 minutes of respite with the birds chortling and spooning his shape in the warmth.

Her firstborn darling woke and wondered into their room, sleepy-eyed with tangled golden locks, smiling sweetly as she climbed above the covers and slid under the blankets for a Sunday morning snuggle, all warm and puppy-smelling, sweet and snooxy.

He stirred, groaned in that blissful Sunday morning early wakefulness, kissed her forehead and rose from their bed. Mother and daughter giggled and kissed, tickled and taunted, unaware of the time . . but he took a long time. The baby went quiet as if something was wrong.

He lay in the hallway, a grown man naked, limp and frightened as a child, "I don't feel so well". She scoffed and berated him for drinking too much the night before.

She told him gruffly that he was probably hungover . . but he was pale and weak and sweating in a way she'd never seen before. His eyes were glazing and his limbs shivering in away she'd never seen before . . he began to breathe in a way she'd never heard before.

. . . Her heart stood still at the sight of him and the panic struck.

T
hey'd fought the night before, too much to drink, too much to say and she'd refused to make love to him before they slept. "Never go to sleep on an argument!" Her mother's words rang round and round like castigating black crows circling her head.

She scooped up the smiling four year old and placed her gently in the toddler's cot. They would play and amuse each other.

She rang 000 and told them her husband was ill, very ill, shaking and not responding . . . suddenly aware that she was naked, she covered herself with a loose dress and hurriedly tied up her hair. Such a silly thing to do given the circumstances, why tie up your hair?

She rang her parents . . .they too were not responding . . .

She rang 000 again and they swore they were on their way.

She covered him with a warm red blanket and slapped his face to try to revive him . . .feeling guilt at hurting his beautiful cheeks but he felt nothing.

She finally rang her in-laws, his mother answered the phone . . .

The paramedics told her to wait in the lounge of their shoe box palace. She did as she was told. She left him . . . she deserted him . . she put him in the hands of strangers/experts and waited in the corner, standing like an unadorned Christmas tree, shaking, wondering. Things will be alright he's only 34 years old, healthy, slim, sporty . . his life ahead of him. She heard the hissing and the smacking of air, she heard slapping and pumping and muffled voices, she heard the clattering of medicines being hurriedly sought and administered. She heard them speak in code and request another vehicle. She heard her children playing happily in their 'cage' and the Fisher Price thing twanging and buzzing and ringing and the intermittent giggles of joy.

Her now pale and panicked mother and father in-law arrived just as they were gently carrying his stretcher down their tiny front steps. He was asleep and quiet, now covered in a grey blanket and not looking right, then into an intensive care ambulance.

She was ushered into another while her distraught parents-in-law watched their son carried onward and promised to take care of the children. Tears poured down a devoted mother's face as she fought the urge to follow for the sake of her grandchildren and watched her son disappear amongst the wail of sirens and the flash of lights.

The world then slipped into a fantasy fog of slow motion alternating between high speed and pockets of slow. . like flying through clouds with little breaks of piercing blue then blur . . .

She, I and they, knew in our hearts he was long gone but they tried, they defibrulated and pummelled. They injected and intubated until his complexion bore an unusual pinkness.

She sat in a small musty office with no-one to keep her company, young and helpless and alone. No-one told her that it would be alright. No-one came . .it was early, the shift was changing, no time for solace or comfort for a distraught young woman. She cried, she sobbed, she hoped, she told herself she was silly and this doesn't happen to fit young men but she knew. She hoped, she prayed, she wished otherwise but she knew.

Then came a white overall, no face, no touch, just a white overall with "I'm very sorry . . ." Right then, at that moment, there was nothing more to say. No more tears to cry. Nothing to feel. The world ceased to spin. Time ceased to tick. Life ceased to exist.

And it all happened one beautiful Sunday morning, in the month of March, 22 years ago, just before breakfast.





Raymond Michael "Chooch" Bainbridge, 1952 -1988.

Visit other Theme Thursday interpretations of Breakfast

47 comments:

Alan Burnett said...

Baino, I don't know what to say. This is so personal but so beautifully written, so full of emotion. To say anything else would be to somehow detract from the raw power of the words.

hokgardner said...

Such a heartbreaking story, but so beautifully written. THank you for sharing it.

Kathy G said...

I'll echo the others...just beautiful. This will stay with me for a long time.

ian said...

Blessings, Baino.

Roy said...

I have no words, for either the writing or the emotion behind it, to do this justice. Peace, Baino.

elly parker said...

Powerful beyond belief. I dunno what to say, just well done for living through that and raising 2 wonderful kids.

Ocean Girl said...

I was there and the similarity is uncanny.

Gledwood said...

xxx

Janice said...

I remeber a comment from you a few months back referring to your loss, and you may remember that I share the same loss with a different set of circumstances. This post was so beautifully written and so poignant;I was feeling every word and powerful image. There are some experiences that stay with us forever.

The Rambling Rural Rector said...

Baino what a heart wrenching post. It's one of those posts that reminds us all to pause once in a while and appreciate who we have around us and what we have in life. Thank you for sharing it. RRR

Grannymar said...

I know you have been thinking of writing about this for quite awhile. You did it so heart wrenchingly well. No matter how much we wear that street face, a part of us stays back in that place. Ray would be so proud of of you and how the children have blossomed in your care.

Carole said...

Beautifully written, Baino, and bless you.

Moon said...

Words fail me xxxxxxx

I revel in our wonderful news, and I cry at your sad memories and lost love x

Ronda Laveen said...

This theme stirred up a deep, painful memory as clear and fresh as it was 22 years ago. Thank you for letting it spill out and sharing your story with us. A tribute to Michael in the anniversary month of his crossing. No, it's not supposed to happen to young, healthy people.

You will be in my heart all day.

Don't Bug Me! said...

You made me cry - and I am work, with no tissues.......sniff.

The Jelly Monster said...

awh my honey...i've never cried at a blog post until now...

Vagabonde said...

It is such a poignant post Baino. My heart goes out to you and my words cannot translate what my feelings are – I wish you well, you are a dear.

Jill said...

The vision I had of that idyllic morning with your lovely man and beautiful children was so vivid. I am sad at the deep loss. The things that shape us and mold us...so much of it painful. Sigh.

XOXO

Mmm said...

Oh my gosh, Baino, I am total goosebumps and shivering and shaking, tears welling up in my eyes at such a powerful personal post. This has to be your best ever. Wow. I am so so very sorry though too.

thank you for sharing this glimpse with us. I am deeply impacted by this piece of writing of yours. Whoa. Don;t even know what else to say but thank you again.

Tom said...

am not used to you writing in this story telling fashion; was very well written, and quite the tearjerker. Such a sad story, 22 years, oh my...

Mim said...

Oh my goodness, oh my.

you are such an awesome writer, I felt like I was there, sitting beside you. And my heart was breaking for that lonely young alone woman. 22 years, a lifetime and just yesterday.

Hails said...

Beautiful writing, Baino. I am at a loss for words.

Megan said...

Oh honey. You made me cry, but my tears are as nothing compared to yours.

California Girl said...

Hello Baino: I'm glad you wrote this. I'm glad you shared. I'm sorry sorry sorry for your loss.

I don't think any of us were prepared to learn of your experience as you've hidden it well. Your writing is often high hilarity or sardonic wit.

Well, you must be feeling safe enough to share with the rest of us and for that we are grateful.

Your last line breaks my heart.
Much love to you dear lady.

kj said...

my beloved hells....

this is stunningly hauntingly beautiful. it made me cry, first because i care so much about you and second because your writing is very powerful. this is a fine piece of writing.

we all know that things can happen and change in a second, and yet we try to believe it is not so.

you were so young, and you have done such an amazing job.

thank you for sharing this hells. i will never forget it.

love always,
kj

Pam said...

Am both stunned and saddened by the poignancy of this Baino. Your writing of this leaves one gasping. I cannot imagine what this experience must have been like for you. It is indeed heartbreaking. Thank-you for allowing us to respectfully read about this traumatic event in your life,to offer our sympathies, and acknowledge how very powerful this piece of writing is.x

Kath Lockett said...

Oh Baino, I'd give anything to be able to hug you right now.

It's small consolation but your writing, your outlook on life and the hardships you've had and your ability to smile and see the humour in all kinds of crap make you the treasure you are.

As was he. Why do I know that, having never known him? Because he chose YOU. *sniff*

Bimbimbie said...

How can that morning be anything but yesterday in your heart, you were both robbed far too soon. x

nick said...

So poignantly described and so sad. How incredibly unlucky for the two of you.

Baino said...

Thank you for your comments. I wasn't going to allow comments because I am not maudlin about it but decided to leave comments open. It happened. A long time ago. I never remarried because I never found anyone to match and also I was never asked. Also as a widow, I didn't feel that sense of desertion or betrayal. When I was young and beautiful, I didn't want a lover. I was still in love. It's different to being abandoned or treated badly. When I decided the time was right for romance, I was in my late 40's and frankly, nobody was interested.

It's been a long time, I am no longer sad about his death but will never forget.

My children have not suffered as a consequence, in fact we are a tight family unit because of it so some good comes out of tragedy. His mother and I are close as a daughter in law and mother in law can be and he is forever young in my heart.

As GrannyMar said there are two events in my life that I've wanted to write about, the other will have to wait for another day. The nerves are still raw.

As for the writing style, yes a slightly different genre for me but Ijust thought I'd have a bash.

nollyposh said...

<3 <3 <3

laughingwolf said...

sad but great memoir...

tony said...

I Kiss You.alternating between high speed and pockets of slow. . .
Regards From Tony.

kj said...

e said...

Baino,

This was beautiful, incredibly sad and unforgettable for me reading it. Thank you for sharing this.
Hugs to you!

lettuce said...

oh baino.

x

steph said...

Tears are rolling down my face reading this.

But I'm happy for you, Baino that you felt comfortable to write this incredibly personal post.

I feel honoured to have been allowed to share it.

Thank you dearest, sweetest Baino

Susan at Stony River said...

Oh wow. We never know what date's ours, though it's coming.

I loved seeing you say that he's forever young in your heart.

Colette Amelia said...

My God I was awokened by my aunt for a all too similar story. My heart goes out for you waiting by yourself. I am glad I was able to be with her. Time did stand still. A blur. I find it so amazing that strong women like you and her got on with life even though everything about it was broken.

You are amazing!

sewa mobil said...

thanks for watching the video music form sarah McLachlan.

CatLadyLarew said...

Oh my, Baino... I had no idea. What heartbreak at such a young age. You are blessed with your children and family to sustain you. Thank you for sharing this. *hugs*

Kate said...

Oh my friend - life can be so hard but you were loved and are still loved - that counts for so much! Your beautiful children think the world of you - you have done that, all by yourself. You have best friends for children and that shows in so many of your posts!!

What's the saying ? Its better to have loved and lost than never loved at all?

Peace and love to you!

Mmm said...

thanks Baino for the follow up here too. So good that his mother and you are still close and your family is tightly knit.

I can only imagine what the other event is that is still too raw to write about.

Sarah Lulu said...

Oh my own heart really felt like it stopped in the reading of your story ...a big part in the making of you.

I feel proud to know you in this small way ..and I hope also that if I get a chance to get to Sydney that you would have coffee with me ..and I could give you a hug.

one little acorn said...

So many years and yet the writing is striking as if it were just yesterday, so personal and heart-wrenching.
Thank you for sharing it.

Ribbon said...

xoxoxo

it's lovely that you have shared this part of your heart with us.

much love to you beautiful Baino x

JeffScape said...

First off, the writing's a tad chaotic, but it's an excellent tale (and one I know is true).

Second, one of the hardest things to beat into aspiring writers' brains is to "be honest." Be honest about their characters, and be honest about themselves. My dear, you've started out that way... everything else is technical.

There's a yarn here... be it fiction or non-fiction. Don't sell yourself short.

Many kudos.