For the most part I’m not angry at Tony for dying by suicide and I just do it all without too much complaint. However, one-night last week had me on edge and anxious about our lives without him.
At 1:30am, I am jolted awake by a train noise and the tornado sirens going off. There were no phone alerts. I grabbed my phone and threw on a pair of shorts. I’m already 10 steps ahead in my brain, thinking after I get the kids up if there’s time, I need to grab us all shoes. While debating internally where the best place is for us in the basement.
First stop is my 13-year-old’s room. It’s not easy but I shake and shout at him until he is awake. Then I tell him to go to the basement while I move to the next room.
My 10-year-old is at a neighbor’s house. He was camping in their backyard, but this is my kid who hates any kind of thunder. He would have come inside long ago, and I know they sleep in the basement.
Last stop is my 8-year-old and his friend who is staying overnight. I could NOT wake them up. Earlier in the evening they played a nail biter of a baseball game against the top team. They came from behind in the bottom of the last inning to win it. My son was the lucky kid on 3rd base who crossed home plate with the winning run. Then his entire team tackled him as he entered the dugout. The boys were so jazzed, and I let them stay up way too late.
So here they are, exhausted and sleeping hard. I’m trying to physically get my son up but he’s so disoriented. Begging him to get up and walk. Pleading with his friend to wake up but he’s in the top bunk and at 5’2”, I can’t reach him. Trying to balance a sense of urgency in my actions and voice without sending anyone into full fledged panic.
Then I notice my oldest son is still upstairs, he won’t go to the basement alone. He is scared. Can I even carry these boys’ downstairs one at a time? But I also can’t bring myself to leave either kid behind or alone.
Therefore, I just keep pleading and trying to shake them awake. By the time I start getting them moving the sirens stop. The danger has passed.
The whole ordeal passed in a matter of minutes but the weight of what could have been was so heavy. What if our house had been hit? I was mad at him. I really needed him that night. Our kids needed him. I needed someone strong to carry 65-pound bodies. I needed someone tall to get to the top bunk. I needed a second adult to get our oldest to the basement. I needed him to hold me after the danger was gone and my heart was still racing. It took me so long to fall back to sleep replaying how I could have done a better job with and without him.
It’s also okay that I was mad at him. I am allowed to have and sit with those feelings. It doesn’t mean I love him any less. I hope there isn’t a next time, but next time, I’m throwing on all the lights and using my super loud mom voice. If panic is what it takes to get us to the basement, that’s how we’re rolling.