Thursday, October 20, 2011

A daughter, a sister, a mother.. and a accident

Alexander Graham Bell would be shocked to see his invention today.  Not only do we have means of communication with friends and family in other states, across  large bodies of water, on high mountain tops, and underground; but we also have communication as we travel.  Although Bell didn't invent the cell phone, I feel it was his concept of communication that started the ball rolling on the cell phone.

As a child, we were taught the telephone was for adults.  We would see our friends for 8 hours at school, therefore the theory was we should have said everything needed during those 8 hours.  "You were just with your friends all day, what could you possibly have left to say" would be recited not once, not twice,  not even three times; rather five times as we all grew up.  Two boys and three girls waited until it was felt they were old enough to have phone privileges. "The phone is not a toy"  our parents would say, and as time moved forward we all learned, when the phone rang late at night or early in the morning; it was never good news.  Something that pretty much stuck with us, as well as every household I am sure, throughout our teens, young adult, and even until this very day.

 Wonder if Alexander Bell intended for a single telephone ring after a proper hour, meant bad news.

{From Left to Right} 
Maryann {my sister} born Oct 16, 1963  and Joslinda {Me} born Dec 28, 1964

 This was such the case on Sunday morning.  All weekend I planned for my sister, the drive from Daytona to Riverview, the meatloaf and mashed potato dinner, the gift I was making for her.  Right down to staying up until the ungodliest hour chatting away about all the small stuff sisters chat about.  I was looking forward to every second we would spend together during the next three days.  Having a sister is a wonderful gift. 

The knock on the door was hard, you can hear the worry with each "knocking" sound.  "Joslinda get up" my sweety heard her knocking first "Huh"?  I answered "Come outside, now Joslinda, now".  My mother said.  I still did not understand what she was saying.  My sweety repeated what she was  shouting.  I quickly got up, muttered something to Paul and before I could make it to the kitchen, he was behind me. 

"What happened?  What's wrong" I asked as I could tell from the look on my mothers face, the phone must have rang in the early morning hours; delivering bad news.  "That was Maryann" she began as she was fighting back the tears "She was on her way here, when she ran over something"  I could hear the words but before they could register,  my mind was screaming 'Get to your sister'.   "The car in front of her hit it as well,  lost control and hit a tree.  That car caught fire"  My stomach fell to the floor.  My head was swirling.  "Where is she?  Can we get to her?"  I asked.   The need to be right next to her was great.  I didn't know if I could get my feet to move, but I knew standing where I was, was out of the question.

{Left to Right}  
Maryann {My sister} and Belia {our grandmother}

Waiting is the hardest thing a person can do,no matter who you are; but waiting in an emergency is intolerable.  With coffee in hand and the three of us; my mother, my sweety, and myself, sitting on the porch waiting for Mr Bell's invention to ring, I could feel my skin crawling.  My insides wanted to run, while the rest of me sat waiting.  I could not stop thinking about my younger sister who had died in a car accident 25 years ago Sept 17th.  Here we sat, October 16 {just 25 yrs and 16 days later} waiting on word about my eldest sister.  Waiting for the ringing sound to interrupt the thoughts racing through our heads.  Waiting to hear the voice of a daughter, a sibling, a mother, and an aunt; waiting to hear in her own words if she was alright.  It is through the voice of someone you love, that paints and tells the whole true story.  Like reading   between the lines of a letter, listening and picking up on clues that aren't spoken from a rebellious teen,; I was waiting to hear clues that would not have been shared.  Longing to know that my sister was alright.

Gladys M. Rodriguez   
3/5/68 - 9/17/86

We were having a hard time sitting still.  Yet not one person walked away from the table for very long.  I think it was my sweety who brought me coffee, but I couldn't say for sure.  But I do remember drinking a few cups of the much needed hot Java.   My mind was racing from October 16th to September 17th, all the while I could hear ear piercing screaming inside of me    "No!!  please No!!"  Part of the morning felt like the movie "Ground Hog Day"  where the actor relives the same day over and over again.  There is no rhyme or reason for not just rushing to her side.  For laying eyes upon my sister and checking for myself.  I kept hearing the same words over and over again.  "I-4 has been shut down, no one can get through".  The words my mother kept speaking.  "Maryann said she would call again as soon as she could"  I heard again.  Words spoken but, not sinking in. 

The wait seemed endless before Sir Bell rang.  On the other end of the phone was the voice I was longing to hear.  Breathless and confused, my sister recounted the steps of her morning.  How the plants were carefully loaded in her car, the bird cage placed close to her so she could talk with both birds.  She recounted the events of the accident, how dark I-4 was... where her car landed after the 180 spin stopped... the car who hit the tree and its passengers... the sound of the firetrucks engine was loud.. drowning out some of the words she spoke.  "Do you have a flashlight, I need to see if there is damage to the side of my car"  I heard my sister say to a fireman.  I wanted to crawl through the phone to hold her, comfort her, tell her everything would be alright {and know it myself}, and bring her safely home.  

Family events flashed before my eyes.  Visions of my sister in the kitchen cooking holiday meals.  Opening up Christmas gifts from loved ones.  Laughing at our children as they squeal with excitement over seeing each other.  It was bad enough that she was moving to another state, and I tried hard to wipe away the images that danced before my eyes.  So thick with the fog of worry, with the 'what ifs', with 'what could have been' and 'what could be', I sat and listened to my sister speak.  Helpless feelings flooded my mind, emotions doubled in size and magnified with intensity.  We waited.  Waited for my sister to be released from the accident site.  Waited to learn if her car would be drivable.  Waited to hear if there would be a need for a two hour  drive into Daytona.  Waited to rescue my sister.

 My mother could not get out of work,  so I kept her up to date via text messages.  My sweety waited on me hand and foot as I  attempted to keep the smallest of consumption down.  There was no changing my mind, Monday morning I would be in route to Daytona.  I had to see for myself the condition of my sister, and my mother would join me for the two hour trip, we just have to know if she was alright.... see for ourselves. 

On Monday, the two hour venture to Daytona would begin, and I could hug her.  Touch her.  See for myself that my sister is in fact safe.  Physically alright.  Maybe we could have a sister sleep over, and I could watch over her as she sleeps.  Maybe.

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