My wife and my ten month old son died in an accident 4 days ago. I was at work when the authorities got a hold of me. I remember saying, “Oh, that’s horrible” into the phone before hanging up. It’s strange how people sometimes react to such situations. For reasons I don’t understand, I continued working. I recall little of that time. I’m not really sure what I did. But around 15 minutes passed before a coworker stopped me, saying that I had been sobbing.
The past 4 days were hazy like that. It’s all been a blur. Phone calls with insurance agents. Funeral arrangements. The ceremony itself. People acted very strange around me. Almost as though they were afraid. They wouldn’t look me in the eyes and were eager to get away from the conversation. In fact, pretty much the only thing people really said to me was “I’m so sorry.” and “Is there anything I can do?” I don’t blame them. There’s no standard protocol on how to behave in such situations.
I spent the first 3 nights at my mother’s house, sleeping in my childhood bedroom. My sister flew into town as well and has been with me. They’ve both been very supportive. But I decided yesterday that it was time for me to return home. It would be my first night there since the accident. Things went… strangely.
I remember getting into my bedroom last night. I remember staring at the bed, realizing how lonely it looked. I’d been so busy. It hadn’t fully sunk in yet. I was afraid that lying in that bed, all by myself, is when it would hit me. But I hadn’t slept at all in days. I was exhausted. Mentally and physically. I lay in bed and fell asleep in just moments.
I woke in the night to the sound of crying. It was pitch dark. “Stay here, I got it.” I said aloud. I felt my way down the short hallway. The crying had stopped, which was a good sign, but I thought I’d check on him anyways. I slowly and oh so quietly opened the door. Silence. There was a tiny amount of moonlight shining through the window. I approached his crib, smiling.
But he wasn’t there.
And reality came crashing back. The crying I heard must have been the tail end of a dream. My son wasn’t in his crib. My wife wasn’t waiting for me back in our bed. They were dead. They will never come back. I will never see them again.
Nobody had been in my son’s room since the accident. I picked up his blanket and held it to my face. It smelled just like him. It was very strong. Almost as though he was there. I could feel myself starting to lose control. I thought of my wife and my son the last time I saw them. I had kissed them both goodbye and left for work. They both had such big smiles on their faces.
It was too much. The enormity of the whole situation had finally sunk in. I started hyperventilating. Gasping for breath. I felt nauseous. Before I knew it, I had wrapped my sons blanket around a small pillow and I sat on the ground, cradling it in my lap. It was almost him. The smell. The size. I thought I could will him back into my arms.
I thought back to my father’s death 3 years ago. I was horribly sad at the time, but I had always known I would heal. That I’d eventually move on. But this was different. I could tell with a certainty that what happened to my wife and son was going to break me. Beyond repair. I was damaged. You don’t move on from something like this. Instead, it slowly consumes you. I continued gasping. Crying.
And then somewhere in that misery my emotions started to change. I felt betrayed. At who or what, I do not know. At everything I guess. I was furious. I threw the blanket and pillow against the wall. I approached my son’s dresser and swept every item to the ground. I pushed his crib over. I punched the wall a hard as I could, leaving a pretty large hole. I let out a billowing scream of anger, misery, and frustration, and then lay on the ground. Crying. Finally letting it all out.
After a few minutes, I started composing myself. I looked around at the mess I’d created in the room. I analyzed the hole I made in the wall, and shook my head. That was stupid. I’d have to learn to control myself better. I’d need to.
But then I noticed something strange in that hole. The corner of a brown case. It took a bit of work, but I was eventually able to pull it out from in between the walls. It was approximately 8 by 12 inches, around 4 inches think. There was a strange alien type language written on the top. I sat it on the dresser, and decided to open it up.
And that’s when sadness and anger turned into horror.
The first thing I took out was a note written on yellow paper. It was addressed to my name and was written in my handwriting. Which was immediately peculiar. I did not write that note or put that case there. How would I even do that? I would have had to tear the wall down, put in the box, repair the wall, and repaint. No. This box was put here, somehow, when the house was first being built. Years before we bought it. This was some sort of paradox. There is no logical explanation.
And then I read the message.
”They’re with me now. I’m sorry. I know they're rightfully yours, but I couldn’t live without them. I did what I had to do. I’m sorry. I just wanted you to know they’re ok. Again, I’m sorry. I’m just so sorry.”
Underneath the note was a picture. It was myself, my wife, and my son. All together. Smiling. We looked so happy. But here’s the strange thing… it was taken at least two years in the future. My son was a toddler. The man in the picture was definitely me, but also not me. It was another version of me. At another time and place. Another thing strange about the picture was that all three of us were wearing heart shaped pendants. They all looked the same. I had never seen them before.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve made any sense of this. I have theories. I have ideas. But I’m probably just about as lost as anybody that’s reading this entry. I do know this… my wife and son are no longer with me, but they aren’t gone either. They exist. Somewhere. Somehow. And they seem happy. And maybe that’s enough.
I stood my sons crib back up. I took the items from the floor and put them back on top of his dresser. I neatly laid the blanket and pillow in the crib. And then I went back to the bedroom. Sitting neatly on my pillow was a heart shaped pendant. I have no idea how it got there. I put it on around my neck. What could it hurt? I lay down on the bed. And I waited for my chance to get my wife and son back. The 'other' me found a way. I will as well. I most certainly will.