Little baby brother, I know
I'll never let your memory go
Still I feel like I should say
Christmas might be difficult but I think that
everyone will be OK.
Just look at what you've done.
~ Paul Sykes
Breakfast: Raisin Bran
A Lion in Winter
NEW YORK, NEW YORK--THAT WONDERFUL TOWN
19 May 2004
My right leg has this terrible looking discoloration. It's red and somewhat swollen appearing and the flesh has a pulpy feel. There doesnt seem to be anything that can be done about it, according to the doctor. I remember distinctly when it happened.
We were in New York. We had gone there with my friend Barb to see a concert by Jose Carreras at Carnegie Hall. Im not a huge fan of Carreras, but Barb is, and the idea of going to Carnegie Hall, the site of Judy Garlands biggest triumph, was really exciting. We had no way of knowing that when the trip ended, life would never be the same again.
The concert was lovely. We were seated with a large group from the Jose Carreras fan club (Barb is a member) and so were in the fourth row of the sold-out house. There were so many people that they seated some on the stage and I was impressed that midway through the concert. Carreras turned his back to the house and sang two songs to the people who had been watching his back for the whole concert. As he took his bow at the end of the concert, I had to snap a photo.
Afterwards we stood in line with our programs to go backstage and get an autograph. He was very gracious and it topped off a very nice experience.
The next day, my friend Ron took us on a tour of the financial district. We got to see the Stock Market in action, walked through Wall Street and stood on top of one of the towers of the World Trade Center, marveling at the beautiful view from this high point.
The next day we went with a couple of CompuServe friends to breakfast at a NY deli...
...and then Audrey went back to her apartment while Ken took us on a tour of Greenwich Village. It was while walking through the Village that I was deep in conversation with Ken and, since I am such a graceful person, didnt see a big concrete pillar coming up and ran smack into it. I just managed to hit my leg wrong and I literally saw stars. But I was too embarrassed by doing it to let people know just how painful it was, and I continued on, trying to ignore the pain, while Ken finished our tour.
That night Ron was throwing a party for us. Ron is also a CompuServe friend and there was to be a gathering of all of the other CompuServe people I "knew" in New York, but had never met.
We arrived at the party early. He had gone all out and had a veritable gourmet smorgasbord of foods to eat, a fully stocked bar, and we were all happily awaiting the arrival of the first guests, when the telephone rang.
"Dont call, just come!" Ron sang out as he went to the back of the apartment to answer the phone.
He was back in a few minutes and pointed to Walt and said "You. Telephone."
Who would call Walt here?
Ron left Walt in the bedroom talking on the phone and came back into the living room.
"Whos on the phone?" I asked.
"Its Ned," he said.
"Whats wrong?" I asked
"I cant tell you," he said.
He couldnt bring himself to break the news to me, but I finally told him he was scaring me and demanded he tell me what was happening.
"Theres been an accident," he said, through tears. "Its David.."
He paused for a minute, then burst into tears. "Hes not going to make it."
I couldnt believe what I was hearing. The next hours are a blur. As we were in the back of the house, talking to Ned, to Tom, to Jeri, to my mother, talking to the doctor, and the head of the transplant team, when I said I wanted his organs donated, Rons doorbell kept ringing with the arrival of happy party-goers, each of whom had to be informed of the drama that was taking place at the back of the apartment. I remember being hugged by lots of friends Id never met before. Ron was on the phone making arrangements to change our flight home to an earlier time and then got us into a cab to send us back to our hotel.
Barb was waiting at the hotel when we arrived and we cried together.
I talked with the transplant team at San Francisco General Hospital and gave official permission to donate Davids organs. Then there was the call, a short time later, to let us know that David was gone.
We tried to sleep until time to pick up the limo Ron had arranged for us and go to the airport. I remember sitting in the dark because I couldnt sleep and starting to cry. Barb, in the next room heard me and came in to hold me as the reality of what had just happened began to sink in. Walt got up as well and the three of us sat there, in the dark, holding each other and crying.
At the crack of dawn, we were at the airport waiting for our plane. The injury on my leg was very painful, but I couldnt be bothered with it. It was a physical manifestation of the pain I was feeling inside.
Tom and Jeri were at the airport to pick us up. We ran into their arms and stood there sobbing on each others shoulders.
Over the next days, weeks, and months we were surrounded by a cloud of grief. I had no time to worry about the fact that the pain in my leg was still there and that there was terrible discoloration.
The pain in my leg has long since gone, the pain of losing David has softened. But the discoloration that remains in my leg as a result of my accident will always be there, just like the little black spot in my heart that will always be the pain of losing David.