Seriously, November has taken the cake. I was starting to fray around the edges, because in the last five years, October has consistently taken me out back and kicked my ass.
November must have been feeling overlooked.
I'm sitting at my desk and I hear crying. "What's wrong?" someone asks. In a rush of breath and tears I hear someone say, "I think he's dead!" My.heart.stops. And then they call my name, and it's time to be a professional. Time to decide the steps to take. To look people in the eye and make sure they stop, think. Breathe.
(inside I'm saying ohgodohgodohgod; and I don't believe in god, but something in my brain needs something to say to keep it running)
It's a mistake right? Please call us back and tell us that he's in the hospital. Injured, but alive. A terrible mistake; so sorry to have worried you.
I speak to a man hours away, whose sentences end in quiet sobs as he says, "I'm so sorry." Soon, I'm in the car on the way to pick up a co-worker to be part of my investigation team. We'll be speaking to officials, witnesses, picking up personal effects, retrieving equipment.
(my heart is so tight, my breath is shallow; the worst has happened and I never wanted to be here, but I knew that someday I could)
The next day, I feel myself shatter a thousand times, but it can't show. My eyes burn from the tears I refuse. I promise myself a thorough falling-apart, but later; it must be later.
It's so very hard, going back to work and seeing the people with questions I cannot answer. I teeter on the edge of anger and sorrow for days; short of patience and short on time.
(I can't go to the funeral, I can't, I can't, I've been living death, his death, for days)
I quell my inner coward and go to the funeral, because it's the right thing to do. My turmoil does not compare to that of family (wife, children, friends, ohgodohgod)
And so, one day at a time, one step at a time.
"We'll never be the same, will we?" asks my boss, my saviour in so many things.
"No sir." I say, "We never will."
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