The phone rang first thing in the morning and I answered, "Hello?"
His weak voice met my weak voice and he said, "Mom?"
He was calling to tell me that he wanted me to stay home today. He could tell that I was tired, in pain and needed to rest.
"But, I'll miss you Mark." I said.
I could hear his breathy voice in each word, "I'll miss you too, but you need to rest. Rest mom, I'll be home soon and you need to rest for that."
I knew what he was imagining. That picture of his mom on a bad day, pale and needing to lay down. The thing that broke me when I hung up the phone was his recognition of an other's need, while he is dealing with his own. That he called me before I would get the chance, to set my mind at ease, and relieve me of my duties for the day. He was giving me permission to take care of myself, rather than take care of him, be it mentally or physically. And as I stared at the phone, long after I had hung it up, something in me stirred.
Anger. It surfaced all on it's own, completely out of context and I thought I was going to self-combust. I've been suppressing it, hoping that it would eventually dissipate, but it obviously wasn't going to. When you let go of anger, is there a specific place where it goes to? I hope so.........
I'm letting go of the following and ask that it be replaced by peace:
* I am angry at the driver that made such a stupid decision.
* I am angry that Mark even got into that car.
* I am angry at pain.
* I am angry that lessons can't be taught another way.
* I am angry at lupus and fibromyalgia.
* I am angry that the driver already had a DUI.
* I am angry and I choose to let it go.
Something I often think about, where my mind would go as I watched Mark's chest rise and fall, not breathing on his own, is how many times people get into cars without even realizing that they are at the mercy of the one behind the wheel. How many times do young people leave parties or gatherings and 'hop a ride' with someone they hardly know. This is the nightmare that parents worry about. This is what we think as they near the age of getting their license. For me, this is what Marks story is about.
I have felt compelled to share this journey that is not yet over. Many of you have been drawn into it. You have cried, you felt worried and relief. Please, for me and for Mark, tell his story to your children, to your grandchildren, to your students and neighbors. For me...and for you, this is more than a story, this is real and supernaturally, you have been moved by it. Promise me you will not forget Mark's story. Promise me you will tell it to someone who might need to hear it. And when you tell it, don't start with, "I read this story...." I'd much rather you said, "I know this boy named Mark...." His seat belt saved his life, it caused a lot of injuries, but he would not be here today had he not used it. But even more important than that, none of this would have happened, if he had never decided to get into that car in the first place.