Now who would believe this! Yesterday morning I was in my backyard feeding the pigeons and I decided to let them go for a fly. I opened the large cage door and they all flew free. I didn't see (forgot to look) the hawk up in the tree. The 800 acres behind my subdivision is being developed and the hawks are losing their habitat. They "hunt" now in my yard looking for big fat pigeons. I was walking back up to the house after letting the birds out and all of a sudden something hit me hard on the head. It felt like it grabbed my hair, and it almost knocked me down. I looked up to see a hawk flying away. He had swooped down on me (maybe thinking that I was a pigeon!) and flew away so fast that it was amazing. If not for the scratches on my scalp no one would have believed me. Later on in the morning, a small branch fell out of the oak tree on to my head. I grabbed my head thinking that the bird had returned! I think tomorrow when I go in the backyard I will wear a construction hardhat!
Friday, April 20, 2007
In April, 1992, 15 years ago, I investigated a traffic accident. A 17 year old boy and three of his friends rode out to the beach after school. They cruised out in the boys truck, a small Dodge Dakota, the four of them on the bench seat of the truck. It was a stick shift, so there really wasn't room for all of them, but they huddled close together, no one wore a seat belt. They stopped at a small store where they knew that id's would not be checked, and bought some beer. They drank the beer, laughed and enjoyed each other's company as they drove towards the beach on that spring day. Two of the girls were 15, the other was 16 years old. The road narrows to one lane in each direction onto the bridge over the intercoastal waterway, then continues to be narrow and ends at the Gulf of Mexico at the public beach area. Between the bridge and the end of the road there is a boat ramp, and the area is very sandy where the boat trailers park. Sometimes this area is congested if a lot of tourists are headed to the beach. I think the cars in front of him may have stopped short and the boy braked hard and lost control of the truck. Pick-up trucks are notoriously light in the rear end, and it skidded sideways and headed into the oncoming lane. A car hit the truck and sent it spinning and rolling. It ended upside down, facing the roadway. The two fifteen year old girls were partially ejected out the passenger window, and lay dead face down in the sand -their arms entwined and their shoulder length hair disheveled. The boy was conscious, and being loaded in an ambulance. I think he had a broken leg. The girl that had been sitting next to him had been impaled with the floor gear shift knob. She survived with a broken pelvis, two broken femurs and a pierced bladder. The driver in the oncoming car was not seriously injured. Backpacks belonging to the kids were strewn all over the shoulder of the road, and none of the kids had identification on them. I collected the student id's from the backpacks and took them to the hospital. I instructed the dispatcher to notify all the parents and have them respond to the hospital. The three girls looked a lot alike, and I had no idea which of them was critically injured and which two were dead. As the first mother arrived, a helicopter was standing by to take the critically injured girl to a larger hospital. I asked the first mother if she knew her daughter's friends as I took her in to see the injured girl. (I remember thinking, "will she be the lucky one?") She recognized the girl as one of her daughter's best friends. She then began to ask where her daughter was. I took her up the hallway to the quiet room (I don't know why they call it that), where I broke the tragic news to her that changed her life forever. Giving someone that "regret to inform you" news is just like punching them in the stomach. They double over and make the sounds of a fatally injured animal. Just then, the father walked in and I had to repeat the punch. Another set of parents arrived and I had to give them the bad news. I have thought about this case a lot lately. I told it in detail to my son. I explained to him how a mistake involving alcohol can affect the rest of your life, and the life of your loved ones. I don't know who is better off, the kids that survived or the kids that died. The surviving girl is still in a wheel chair and can probably never have children. The boy is still on felony probation for being the responsible driver in the accident. The incident also impacted me forever; that is why I am so fearful for my son.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
People were in their pews talking at church. Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate. Soon everyone had exited the church except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew without moving, seeming oblivious to the fact that God's ultimate enemy was in his presence. So Satan walked up to the old man and said. "Don't you know who I am?" The man replied, "Yep, sure do." "Aren't you afraid of me?" Satan asked. "Nope, sure ain't." said the man. "Don't you realize I can kill you with a word?"asked Satan. "Don't doubt it for a minute," returned the old man, in an even tone. "Did you know that I could cause you profound horrifying agony for all eternity?"persisted Satan. "Yep," was the calm reply. "And you're still not afraid?" asked Satan. "Nope," said the old man. More than a little perturbed, Satan asked,"Well, why aren't you afraid of me?" The man calmly replied, "Been married to your sister for 48 years."
I was crazy for a while until I read some of your supportive comments and emails. I thank you all so much for taking the time to comment on my "crisis". My son is in the teenage independence years, and it is difficult for me to let him go. Sometimes I watch my life from the sidelines. I think it is because of the time I have spent lately with my elderly Mom. I picture myself in a few more decades right there where she is. At the same time my son is breaking away (as he should at age 17). I have always been sort of resistant to change; even though I know that is what life is all about. I miss my little boy who used to like "me" the best! Now he likes his friends better, trusts them more, confides in them. I have come to terms with this the past week, and I am not so upset about it anymore. I will let him go to Europe. I will trust him to learn by his mistakes. I will pray and keep my fingers crossed that he will do the right thing. I will be there for him when he needs me. It is all I can do because I really don't have a choice!
Monday, April 09, 2007
I am tuffenuff. There is not too much that life can throw at me that I haven't seen before. After all, I had a job for 25 years that showed me the ugly underbelly of society. Last Tuesday I got the shock of my life when the school called and said, "We have your son here in the clinic and he is drunk." I made them repeat it because I couldn't believe what they were saying. I said, "I'll be right there". Time slowed down, my mouth dried out. The 15 minute ride to the school took forever. The ambulance was out front of the office as I entered. My son was on the nurse's cot crying. He had a bloodied nose and lip from struggling with the police. Everyone gave me "the look". You know - poor you - your son has bad, bad problems look. I was numb. Preston was drunk out of his mind. I worried about the amount of alcohol that he had consumed. I have seen kids poison themselves to death this way. I have had to break the news to parents of teenagers who have done similar things. I had the ambulance transport Preston to the hospital. We spend the rest of the day in the ER, then went from there to the mental health hospital and spent most of the evening there. We finally arrived home at midnight. In retrospect it could have been much worse. My heart is broken. Preston has always been a good kid, always followed the rules and been respectful. He and his friend had decided the night before the incident that it would be fun to get a "little drunk" and go to school. They conspired to steal liquor from their respective homes and carry it to school in water bottles. Preston brought straight vodka in a water bottle; the other boy brought a mixture of whiskey and tequila. I guess the other boy only pretended to drink, while Preston "chugged" down the deadly stuff. I estimate that he drank 8 to 10 ounces. Having never been around alcohol before, he had no idea how much to drink. He starting getting sick almost immediately, and was taken to the clinic from his first class. He was talking crazy and doesn't remember most of the day. He was still puking at 10:30PM. The counsellors and psych doctor decided after talking to Preston, that he was not trying to deliberately harm himself, but rather made a really stupid teenage choice. He is suspended from school for 5 days, and we are participating in a drug & alcohol awareness class for the next six weeks. He will also be going to counseling. I am scared to death. All of his life I have been an overprotective mom; now I am just plain nuts. I am frightened to let him out of my sight. Needless to say he is restricted from everything. He just turned 17. I know teenagers want to spread their wings and try new things. I just feel like our trust is broken, and I don't know how to get it back. I tell you this story because I am looking for some advice from my blog friends. This summer Preston is scheduled to go to Europe for 10 days on a school trip. It will be chaperoned, but I wonder if I will be a fool to let him go. This is a chance of a lifetime. He says that he has learned his lesson the hard way, and vows to never go near alcohol again. What happens if another temptation presents itself? Will he be strong enough to resist? I have never been so distressed in my lifetime.