Monday, November 30, 2009


Today I am asked, for insurance purposes, to provide an emergency contact. My mind goes blank, my mouth goes dry, and my stomach drops to my knees as I realize there is no one. Colby was my emergency contact. From the time he had a phone, his was the name I always gave.

The voice on the other end of the line prods me along and I try to focus. Certainly, the voice says, there is a niece or nephew, sister, brother, or in-law within driving distance. No, there isn't. Not within or outside of driving distance. For me, those people don't exist, have never existed. I am panicking now. The fluttering begins, my mind whirls and I can't think. All I know is that I have no emergency contact.

I hang up the phone and bite my lips. I hug myself and rock back and forth in a futile effort to keep the tears from falling. It should be Colby's name I list on that form. His phone number. His contact information, and I am hit with such deep sadness that I find it hard to breathe.

After a time my brain begins to clear and I realize I have friends who will serve as my contact, many of them. But I am tired, overwhelmed and the thought of going to the trouble of asking any one of them if it is okay to use their name, their contact information, is too much. That would make it real. That would mean that Colby really is gone. Of course I know that he is, but sometimes reality is hard to fathom, to believe, to understand, remember. And sometimes I want, need, to hold on to that golden illusion that Colby is just around the corner, that he will be jiggling the doorknob and peeking in the living room window any time now. I just have to wait, be patient, and he'll be back soon. Just wait and see.

That's where my mind goes when reality is too hard to accept. It's a daydream, a pleasant fantasy, but it keeps me from being so overwhelmed with the truth of my life. It is a tool that allows me to function. I choose a friend's name and add calling the person to tomorrow's "to do" list, to see if it is okay to put their name and contact information on the form. Then I look at the photo of my son in the silver frame on my coffee table. I kiss my finger, then place my finger on the frame next to the image of Colby's face. I miss my boy.

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