The Worst Heartbreak by prettybluebirds
It was a lovely day for late November in Michigan. The cool crispness of dawn had turned into an unseasonably warm day. The sky was a throbbing blue vault overhead; the sun shone golden and warm on the tawny autumn grasses. A blizzard of yellow leaves fluttered past my face as the wind ripped the last of the glorious fall colors away, naked now, the land turned brown and gray, along with my heart.
The day started like any other as my son Roy and I, got up at 5 a.m to feed and milk the cows. Roy was excited because two of his buddies were going deer hunting with him that day. He could hardly wait to finish chores and breakfast.
I still wasn't completely sold on the idea of three sixteen-year-old boys hunting by themselves, but I knew they were all responsible young men. My husband and I had cautioned them several times about the proper handling of guns. Besides, they had just completed a gun safety class a month ago, so I decided it would be okay to let them go. Still, I felt that little niggling of unease in my gut. I should have listened to my instincts.
After the boys had left, I decided to clean and vacuum my truck. I thought it might be the last time before I had to start going to the car wash for the winter months. As I headed for my vehicle, I noticed far to the west, barely visible against the blue sky, a flock of geese heading south. For some reason, the sight and sound of those migrating geese filled me with an unbearable sadness and loneliness. I shrugged off the melancholy mood as silly and proceeded on to my wash job.
I just finished with the vehicle when Dave, the hired man, turned into the driveway so fast he almost rolled his car, then slid to a stop beside me. I remember being irritated because he threw dirt and gravel all over my clean truck. I forgot my annoyance when he delivered his frantic message to me.
"Roy just got shot. The ambulance is taking him to emergency right now," Dave said. " Hurry, get in your truck, and I will drive you over to the hospital."
Panic flooded my veins. My baby was hurt, I must get to him as soon as possible. That Roy might be more than hurt never crossed my mind for a minute; the doctors would stitch him up, or maybe surgery, but he would be okay. Those thoughts kept me sane on the long drive to the hospital.
Dave and I rushed into the emergency room where a doctor met us and ushered us into one of the side chambers. It was then I learned my beloved son had passed away. Tom, Roy's best friend, was unloading his rifle when it misfired. The bullet struck Roy in the hip, ricocheted, went straight through his heart and out the back of his shoulder. The physician assured me Roy died instantly, never aware of what happened. My beautiful boy was dead.
After I had managed to gain a semblance of control over my emotions, I asked to see my son. It is a moment I will never forget. Roy looked like he was sleeping. One leg dangled over the side of the stretcher, and his hands lay on his stomach. His cheeks were still rosy; he was warm to the touch, and his skin still moist with sweat. No sign of the wound that ended his young life or any blood; the nurses must have cleaned him up. He was still wearing the clothes he left home in that morning and looked very much alive; like he might jump up and say, "Just kidding, Ma. Let's go home now." I brushed his hair back then kissed his forehead. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that Roy was gone forever.
I stood there a long time and talked to Roy. I half expected him to open his eyes and answer me. My logical mind knew he was gone, but the mother in me refused to give up. No parent should have to witness their child lying dead on a stretcher or anywhere else. It was, beyond a doubt, the saddest moment of my life.
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