Six Months

Neither Kim nor I slept much last night.

Three nights ago, about twenty minutes after midnight, the doorbell rang.

When the doorbell rings that late at night it is chilling. No one would be coming to visit that late at night just to chat. Something horrible must have happened.

I’m transported back to a late night in our old house when the doorbell rang this late and it was Andy and Andy at my door to tell me that Mel had died. Suddenly. He’d died while doctors looked on unable to do anything.

But tonight there’s no one at my door. It’s a bit creepy. I know I heard the bell ring. It’s still echoing a bit and the dog is pacing back and forth. I turn off some lights to better see outside and there’s no one there. Then I notice some movement across the street. It’s two boys running. I open the door to make sure they’re ok – to make sure they aren’t running from house to house in distress looking for help.

They’re not.

They’re pulling a prank. They run up to the house across the street and ring the bell and run away. They’re too far to identify. All I can see is that one boy is wearing a green shirt with white writing. The other boy is hiding in the shadows. It doesn’t look as if they are done for the night. I call the police and go to bed.

Two nights ago our phone rang at one thirty in the morning.

Time contracts and expands at different times during the day. Kim and I had enough time between the first and third rings to wake up, look at each other, and imagine all sorts of horrible news that would be conveyed by this call.

It was a wrong number.

And so last night I had a hard time falling asleep. It could have been that I knew when I woke up it would be six months since Elena died. It could have been the two nights before. I tossed and couldn’t get settled. I listened to “On the Media” on my shuffle and fell asleep somewhere around one thirty. At two I woke up and took the headphones out of my ears.

I lay there unable to get back to sleep. This is unusual. Ordinarily, I just turn over and am out again. Ten minutes later I heard Maggie talking. It was her voice but what she said was indecipherable. Kim awoke immediately. It’s a sixth sense that mothers have for their children. She didn’t know why she had woken up but she listened carefully and then rolled over and go to bed.

But at three in the morning it is now the twenty-second. It’s six month since Elena died. I need to check on Maggie and know that she’s o.k.. I get up and look in her room. Her bed is piled so high with stuffed animals that I can’t be sure that that lump in the middle that is Maggie is breathing normally.

I walk closer to her bed and see that she’s fine. She’s more than fine. She’s perfect. I reach over her and turn off her clock radio. The radio we gave Elena a year ago. The one item from Elena’s room that Maggie asked for. Maggie stirs and looks up at me. She sees me turn off her radio and smiles and turns over and falls immediately back to sleep.

I head back to bed but not to sleep. It’s been six months.

Published in: on August 22, 2006 at 7:08 am  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Daniel-

    You’ve been in my thoughts today. The first song I heard on the radio this morning was “A Circle of Life” and there was Elena dancing, bringing tears to my eyes.

    Peace to you, Kim, and Maggie


  2. My heart is with you, even if I don’t always comment. Hugs to you all…

  3. Oh Daniel, Kim and Maggie….This is so very hard. Six is both an eternity and a blink of an eye..I wish there was some magic potion to sprinkle above you all to make it better. But I know better-and I also know that you wouldn’t want that. We need to mourn,to remember, though it can tear us apart. I realized it was also the anniversary-realized it becuase your story and Elena’s life and death have been on my mind for six months straight.

    We released butterflies in our yard yesterday. We had bought the butterfly kit fron Playmatters and had sent out for the caterpillars. We received 5 caterpillars in the mail and promptly placed them in the container where they would eat and grow for a few days until they miraculously morphed into a chrysallis. Four of them did as nature intended with no problems. The 5th one, however, made it half way up the container to try and reach the top so he could hang there and do his stuff. He stopped half way up. My daughter said..”I don’t think he will make it.” I tried to explain “survival of the fittest” to her. She told me all he needed was a little encouragement. So she spoke to him and encouraged his journey. The next day..he had contnued to climb!! But sometime during the day he stopped..he just stopped. Madeline asked me, “What happened? He was making it and trying so hard.” I told her, “Honey, this is every form of life–be it human, animal, insect,plant..there are those that can’t continue on..that will die.” She cried and cried–“It is just like Elena and just like is so unfair!! “Yes, I agreed-it cetainly is. But for now, we must focus on keeping the 4 chryallis’ that are left safe, and on feeding the butterflies their sugar water once they emerge.”
    And we did..

    And they were beautiful–“painted ladies” they were called. And when we released them into the wild of our back yeard..we learned that they will remain there for up to 3 days before they travel elsewhere.

    And I wept as we released them..for the two little caterpillars-one who I never knew, and one who was of my own flesh and blood..that never turned into the beautiful butterflies they should have…

    Thinking of you all, always,
    Charlotte Neel

  4. Daniel,
    Mike and I talked yesterday about how the time has flown by and yet has been the longest six months of our lives. We miss her so much that our hearts ache and can’t begin to imagine how you, our dear friends, can possibly stand it. We’re thinking of you.


  5. Hi Daniel,
    This is the first time I’ve commented on your blog. It’s one of the first blogs I’ve ever read and it’s haunted me ever since – I had to go back and search for it just the other day because I was wondering how your family was doing.

    I have to say THANK YOU. Thank you for the words you write and thank you for helping to make me a better parent. I cannot EVEN begin to imagine the pain and anguish you must be going through, losing Elena. It makes me realize how special the time is I get to spend with my kid, and sad for the time you didn’t get to spend with Elena.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours…


  6. thinking of you.

  7. I used to do stupid things like that when I was young – so many of us did. I guess its not until you are a bit older that you realise the nuisance stuff like that can be.

  8. I lost my boobs

  9. Nice day, cool!

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