Crossroad Blues

Demons they are on my trail
I’m standing at the crossroads of the hell
I look to the left I look to the right
There’re hands that grab me on every side

Tracy Chapman

It has been just over six months since Annette was run over. It was explained to me that night that she was in a coma and they were not sure she would live through the night. I was told that it would be prudent to visit with her quickly to say goodbye in case she expired. The evening replays in my head like a nightmare that doesn’t fade.

It is funny how those nightmares come back to haunt you. I was watching a movie a week ago which had a scene with people spending an entire night in a hospital waiting room. I almost broke down and cried watching people sleeping in a fucking hospital waiting room. It reminded me of all the waiting I had to do.

We waited for weeks while Annette slumbered in a coma. We were told there was no way to know if she would ever come out of that coma. We were told that, if we were lucky, Annette might regain enough faculties to walk to a nearby store and return with the right items and correct change. Whether or not she would walk again, or talk again, or recognize or remember anyone in her family was a mystery.

My relationship with Annette has been troubled at best for the last few years. She wasn’t talking to me at the time of the incident. When I saw her lying there, just this side of death, hooked to mysterious machines with numerous tubes and needles invading her body, it was the first time I had seen her in months. None of this made seeing her in a coma any easier.

Anyone who knows Annette knows that she is full of life. She loves to dance and sing, she loves to talk and is opinionated about things whether she knows what she is talking about or not. She possesses a joie de vivre that can be at once both a miracle to behold and a pain in the ass.

From what we were told we were not likely to get her back. I didn’t want to see her spend years in a coma. I wanted her to recognize her family and not have to depend on others to take care of her every need. I wanted my daughter back. I decided that the best thing to do would be to let her go.

I love my daughter with my entire heart and soul. She was the first thing in the world I truly cared about; the first thing in my life that was worth living for. Had she not been born I am convinced that I would have been long since dead.

While I watched over the broken body of my child I found no comfort from God or angels or heaven or miracles. Seeing her like that was hell. Deciding that letting her go would be better than watching her live a debilitated life was hell. I didn’t make that decision because I gave up or because I had a moment of weakness. I didn’t decide it would be better if I gave her up to God. I did not make that decision because I thought it would make things easier for me.

As parents, we are forced to make numerous decisions about our children. Some of them are easy. Many of them are difficult. Using our best judgement, based on the knowledge and experience we possess, we try to make the best decision we can for a child who doesn’t possess the necessary faculties to make that decision on their own.

I lucked out. Things got better. Annette started making improvements. The doctors started giving us a happier prognosis. That decision never had to be made. I still have to live with the decision I did make.

About Leo

Leo Barrera Expert at dealing with conflict. Grim, determined, a little chaotic, a threat to good order. Veteran. Chicano. Husband. Father. Writer. Photographer. Gardener.
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