There were two whole slices and one half eaten slice in the still open pizza box. The cheese was congealed in the way that cold pizza typically morphs. I stared at those slices of pizza as if they were the aurora borealis. So mesmerized was I, that now 17 years later, I can still see those pizza slices.
At the same time as I was meditating on pizza, Dr. Parker was telling me that my two year old who lay in the next room being air bagged, would not live until morning. Perhaps, this is why I chose to focus on cold pizza.
I could see the white-coated doctor’s mouth moving, but I couldn’t really hear her. She could not possibly be uttering the words that I thought I was hearing. Not possible. Focus on the pizza.
She said to be sure and summon all my children to the hospital, as soon as possible so that they could say goodbye. She was crying. Shep and I weren’t crying yet. We had years of crying ahead of us. Why start now, when instead, I could keep staring at the pizza and leaving this room in every possible metaphysical way?
We stood and walked into the room where my baby was dying. How did we walk? I suppose we walked in the same way that a prisoner, taking his final steps down death row, finds the strength or the rote memorization to put one foot in front of another when every bodily fiber is screaming “STOP!” It is like walking into the cauldrons of hell, knowing clearly how much agony lies ahead in the burning flames.
We had no choice. We walked on. We stood at the bedside sobbing, begging, pleading with those trying hard to keep my baby alive, to keep on trying. They did not look back. They never met my eyes. They knew it was hopeless. They knew hell was waiting anxiously for us and hopefully, that heaven had already embraced my dearest child.
So sometimes, even today, why this very morning in fact, I end up back in the “pizza room.” It can often happen willy-nilly with no rhyme nor reason. Likely, it happened this morning, because this day, was the last day of my life as I knew it. Tomorrow, begins the death remembrance as the day of the drowning. The panic begins tomorrow morning and resonates through every fiber of my being. Then it ends at 6 am the next day. I begin to breathe again. It is done.
When I unconsciously and randomly enter the “pizza room” the door slams and locks. My heart pounds and I beg to get out, but it’s hopeless. I am stuck there now and no way to get out no matter how hard I try. I have to stay until I am done. When I get out, I am usually stunned, but I do get out and look at the brightness of the sun and the blueness of the sky, or the peace of the night and the shining of the moon and know that I am still here, but he is gone. The pizza remains.
May 2, 2012