This is not biographical. This is a piece of fiction. One day while at work, I believe it was in 2010, it was a very slow day and I opened up my note book and just started writing. This has been edited but not as much as some of the things I have written. I know this one will be my story. This one will become something more, when I am not sure, how with great discipline (gulp) but one day it will be something.
The Story of Me…
My name is David Michael Jones. David Michael. It’s a good strong name. A biblical name. A proud name. A boy’s name… But I am a girl and this is the story of me.
My father named me. I suppose he didn’t expect a girl. In reality he didn’t expect a child.
I like to think my mother had some beautiful name picked out for me and just didn’t get a chance to share it. Oh wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here. My mother. I never met her. She died when I was born. Leaving my dad to take care of a baby in the midst of his grief. It’s actually a very sad story, one I have only heard a few times, but have romanticized a million times. My mother is my hero. An amazing, selfless woman, full of courage – at least that is how I choose her to be… strong and beautiful.
My mother and father were still in the newlywed stages of love, when she began to feel that something was wrong. She was ill, she was tired, she felt ‘off’. After 4 different doctors and months of being told that she just needed to relax, that she was making herself sick with all her worrying, that everything was fine, that she just needed to go home and be a good little wife, an eager young specialist, fresh out of med school, discovered the cancer. She was told that her and dad needed to take aggressive action, there were options, new treatments. And albeit they would be painful and would make her feel sicker sometimes, there was hope. Everything was set for radiation and chemo and all that fun stuff. They were prepped for all the lovely hours they would spend at the hospital and were just about to get underway when mom discovered some other unexpected news. She was pregnant.
She now had a choice to make, which to everyone but her was no choice at all. She could abort me and go ahead with her treatments as scheduled, or she could attempt to live long enough to carry to me to term. The doctors said there was little chance she’d last long enough for “it” to survive without treatment, and that she couldn’t maintain the pregnancy while undergoing treatment, so either way “it” would die. But if she aborted “it” and went ahead with the treatment and if she came out clean and whole she could always try to have a family then. Well my mother said there was no choice to make. She would not sacrifice another’s life, no matter how small or “insignificant” to save her own. And that if God was willing we would both survive the ordeal and live happily ever after.
Well this story isn’t a “happily ever after” story. Just as she was coming up on 8 months mom took a turn for the worse and an emergency caesarean section had to be scheduled. They needed me out so that they could try to save her. It turned out I was born at approximately 9:30 on a drizzly May morning, and that my mother died at approximately 9:30 that same drizzly morning. No-one would tell me exactly when she died, or when I was born, but they said it was the anaesthetic, she was too weak, too sick, too frail for the surgery.
(I like to think that the nurses wanted me to be able to pretend that she actually had a chance to see me, maybe even hold me, and to fall in love in with me before she died. But I am quite confident that she died minutes before my birth.)
And that is how I came into this world.
Then there is my dad. I have seen the pictures of him before the cancer, before mom’s depletion, and he looks so happy, young, carefree, handsome even. I never got to know that man. The man I know is sad, withdrawn, worried, he looks tired and broken. He is a good man. He tries. But he IS a broken man. I know he loves me, but he is always just a bit distant. Always standing on the edge of my life, watching. In the early years I was raised by his sister Jane. I lived with dad, but Jane was always there. She got me up every morning. She cleaned me up, took me out, held my hand. But every night after supper she went home to her own place, only to do it all again the next day. Then she met this guy. She said he was “the one” and slowly we saw her less and less. When they got married they moved away, and then it was just me and dad.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good dad. He doesn’t lose his temper, and he has never hit me. But living with some-one who is chronically depressed is hard. When I was young I really didn’t notice. But as I got older I started to realize that it was there. Like a thick fog surrounding him. He looks normal, he seems normal. He smiles sometimes, he even laughs. But he is lifeless. He died with my mother. You can see it in his eyes. He never laughs with his heart, and some days it causes me to feel broken myself.
Now some might think life has handed me a raw deal, that it’s just not fair. They may even go so far as to say God has a cruel sense of humour, that he has cheated me. I have even had people ask me how I can live knowing I took my mother’s life. I don’t know what they are talking about. I didn’t take anything! I was given a gift. A precious gift. And I know what that gift cost. I understand its value. I think I am lucky, luckier than most actually. God is good, and for that I am grateful.
Just like so many things that happen to us in life they define us, mould us. It’s those things, those moments, the ones that are beyond our control that make or break us. We choose to either succumb and live defeated lives or we rise to the occasion and choose to really live. I like to think that I am a masterpiece in the making. And therefore I refuse to be broken.
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