an episodic journal by Corey B. Buckner

Legendary Grief Ch. 3

by Corey B. Buckner

Guess who cries in public places now? Me. Mr. "never let them see you cry" himself can't keep his tear ducts from being triggered at a moment's notice. Sometimes for seemingly no reason at all, I will feel the swell of tearful mourning taking over me and all I can do to maintain my public dignity is bow my head and bury my eyes behind my hand. Sometimes the onset is reasonable and obvious. At other times it is due to the most random, minute, fragmented and subtle connection to what happened.

I have always hated heavy, bumper-to-bumper traffic. Now, my utter disdain for being stuck between a logjam of cars driving five miles per hour on an expressway has been heightened to epic proportions. This is because we were fighting traffic, trying to get to our doctor's appointment on the day we found out that our son Legend had passed away. I can still feel the frantic burn of desperation as I tried with all that was in me to get through that traffic and hear my son’s heartbeat once again. I was desperately clinging to the hope that he was still with us and that everything was going to be okay and that our miracle was happening. We had known since the previous Tuesday our son was in trouble, but we held on to our faith that he would make it.

We also knew before my wife Tamekia got pregnant that it would be a high risk pregnancy on account of her having Sickle Cell Anemia. As such, we had to go to a specific hospital that specializes in treating Sickle Cell which was 45-minutes to an hour away from our house. But, on August 27, 2019 we endured nearly two hours traffic as we fought to get to the hospital and learn the fate of our child. There were at least five accidents on the expressway that morning, each one extending the length of time we had to wait to learn his fate.

The lengthy commute made us miss our ultrasound appointment, further causing us to have to wait an additional two hours or so to get squeezed in. All this waiting and anxiety, only to hear the deafening sound of silence pierce our through eardrums as they placed the ultrasound sensor against my wife's stomach. We knew what that meant. We didn't say a word, but we knew what we were hearing in that silence. Everything was silent. I was silent, my wife was silent, and the ultrasound technician was silent. Most disheartening in all that was the sorrow-inducing silence of the ultrasound machine itself. Nothing; not even a flatline… just silence.

Eventually, my ears became attuned to the random click of computer keys and the mouse button as the tech continued to work. Her steadfastness on taking my son’s body measurements gave me hope that we weren’t hearing what we thought we were not hearing. "She’s still working," I thought. "He might still be there," my thoughts continued. I clung to my hope of a miracle. Then she abruptly stopped working, pushed herself away from the ultrasound machine and said, "Okay; the doctor will be in to talk with you shortly." Then she left; leaving us there alone in the room where the excruciating sound of silence returned. Moments later a team of doctors entered the room to confirm for us what the silent ultrasound had already spoken to our hearts… our baby was gone.

So now I hate heavy traffic. It makes me cry sometimes. It makes me remember that day. Sometimes when I'm alone in my car without someone to act strong for in the passenger seat I cry so hard I have to pull over and let it all out. Like the rain of a monsoon falling on my windshields, the windows to my heart and soul become so covered with liquid that I can no longer see the road ahead. So I have to pull over and wait until the storm settles and I can see the road again. That’s why I hate heavy traffic now.

I'm not much of a fan of Tuesdays either. August 27, 2019 was a Tuesday. It was that Tuesday that brought me the news that our son had left us. Some Tuesdays I wake up and replay that morning in my head moment by moment, wondering; like I did on that day, if there was anything that I could have done to save our son. Each time I travel down that roadway of thoughts I hope somehow the outcome will change and I will roll over and see my wife's pregnant stomach. But you and I know that that is not a possibility. Yet and still, that doesn't stop me from hoping while I am recounting that day.

Because I am a man, I try to solve problems… even when there is no solution. You cannot change the past, but that fact doesn't stop me from trying. No sense of reality will keep me from attempting to travel backwards on my timeline, figure out the problem and bring my son back. So my weeks are stuck in an infinite loop where Tuesdays have become the day I begin trying to solve the puzzle that will bring my Legend back to us.

Then there are Wednesdays… August 28, 2019, the day our son was born still; that day was a Wednesday.

to be continued...