These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.
Monday, April 06, 2009
I’m so sad.
I dropped you off at school this morning and it was a particularly cold day. It was starting to snow and I hadn’t brought your coat, so I headed home to get it.
On my way back to your school, as I was approaching the turn into your school’s drive, and I saw a couple of dogs running out of an apartment complex’s entry/exit. They were bounding in the street – absolutely euphoric – and you could almost read their minds as they bounced across the street - I’m free! I’m free!
Then this car in front of me hits one of the dogs.
The driver never even slowed down. Didn’t even tap the brakes – no lights came on at all. And, afterwards, just kept driving – as though there was no reason to stop. Like the driver had run over a piece of garbage. Nothing worth being held up over.
I pulled up in front of the dog, hit my emergency flashers and was out of the car. The dog was in convulsions on the street and there was blood coming out of her mouth.
I started crying and ran back to my car for the phone. I managed to get the number off the dogs collar as she was lying in the street and called the number which was hard because my hands were shaking so bad.
I called and got a voice message and start sobbing on this ladies machine about how her dog, Sunrise, is dying in the street and I didn’t do it and the nearest intersection and what happened and I didn’t know what we were going to do about her dog and I’d call her back and, well, I was just hysterical.
I can’t even imagine what I must have looked like. Here I am – without a coat – standing in the middle of Laclede Station Road. It’s snowing and my car is parked at a green light with me standing right in front of it. I’m 7 ½ months pregnant and there is a bleeding, convulsing dog at my feet and I’m sobbing – having a complete breakdown and I’m just imploring other people with my eyes to please not hit me and help me.
A nice off duty police officer – an older man – pulled over and told me that the dog was dead. By now, the dog did seem to be emitting a death rattle. He was worried about the crazy pregnant lady having the mental breakdown in the middle of the street. He spoke slowly and calmly to me about needing to get me out of the street. I was sobbing and kept saying “but… the dog!”
He reached down, grabbed the dog by the collar and dragged it over to the side of the street. As soon as Sunrise was out of traffic, I jumped in my car, pulled it into the nearest spot that I could safely park on a side street and ran back to the dog and the officer and started to describe the vehicle. I’m sure he thought I’d lost my mind. Here I am insisting that the driver was in a four door white car and that they didn’t even stop. Didn’t even tap the brakes!
I think about our little dog, Hercules, that gets out occasionally and in exactly this same manner. As though it’s a holiday! Feeling completely invincible and bouncing around the world enjoying no limits. The idea that all that energy could be snuffed out so fast has always scared me sick when he does this, but he is always so brimming over with life and has so much trust that nothing could happen, that you almost believe it. You almost believe the worst that could happen is he gets further than he knows how to get back and winds up lost. But, no... this was the worst that could happen.
Anyway, before I knew it, there was another guy and a lady with us and they were trying to get me to put on this coat that I was clutching for Jack, and I was saying “I can’t wear that! It’s for a four year old!” Eventually, the other man that was there told me that they were going to take care of everything – call the owners, make sure the dog was picked up – and that I should leave and take care of myself.
So, I headed back to Jack’s school to drop off his coat for the day. I was trying to pull myself together but my face was red and blotchy and by this time I’d been standing on the street in front of his school crying for about 30 minutes with Sunrise as she bled – and all these parents and teachers were passing me on their way to the daycare. So, when I came into the center to drop off the coat, a teacher came up to me and said “honey, don’t feel bad. It could happen to anyone – it’s hard to stop when a dog runs out in the street…” and I started bawling all over again! I was saying “I didn’t do it! It was this lady! She just kept going!” and before I knew it I was retelling it to anyone who would listen that I didn’t hurt Sunrise. And I got so upset I pushed your coat (Jack) into a teacher’s hands that I recognized and said that I was just bringing your coat to you and I didn’t want to upset you and to make sure you got your coat and then I was rushing out of the daycare with tears running down my face and looking so dramatic that you’d think I was in terrible pain or something. I’m sure I scared the crap out of every parent I passed coming in…..
When I pulled out, Sunrise was lying in the grass on the side of the road and everyone had left her. She was dead by then.
So, I’m trying to work through the day – I’m exhausted as anyone who has cried a lot and for a long period of time knows – and I’m not making much sense.
I guess I'm blogging about this because it's made a big impression on me and I can't seem to let it go. Maybe this will help.
I just hope Sunrise isn’t there when I go to pick you up, because I don’t think I can hold it together for that.