Thursday, June 19, 1997

Journal entry, Kaiser Hospital

6/19            Kaiser Hospital, Terra Linda. While Alison read to Neil from the book I got him for his birthday on Ulster, I burst into tears, like my previous outburst this morning, it was too much having to take care of Herman at home. I can’t breathe, have to pull myself up the stairs. 

Patrick called and I began to sob, clutching Neil’s pants to my chest, the odor of detergent suggesting the flowered meadows we might not have ever seen again. All I could think of was how close to death he had come, my waking vision of my wailing over his prone body was not so not far off the mark. 

As Alison read, I wept uncontrollably, couldn’t stop. She held me in her arms as she had held Neil earlier. Said “It’s OK, Let it all out. It’s post-traumatic stress syndrome.” I couldn’t shake the vision of how I was covered in his blood. “The red blood of a son of Ulster,” he said, raising my hand to his poor, swollen lips, attempting a gallant kiss from that poor broken mouth. I wept as I kissed his fingers in return, from the shock they were still mottled purple, little yellow islands of fat. Am I Lady MacBeth haunted by blood?

When I could do no more at the scene of the accident, I lay down at his feet right in the middle of the roadbed, and waited for the ambulance to arrive, afraid to take my eyes off him, for fear he’d lose consciousness and die. I remember the blueness of sky broken by eucalyptus leaves, thinking how the patterns of light the most important thing in the world. If I just focused on them hard enough, then he’d live. 

Many images: had I lain at his feet before, covered in his blood, in some battlefield in a past life? I’ve plenty of present life dejá vú, but rarely a past life “memory.” Not sure I even believe. The imagery of slaughter.

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