“Mom. Where are you now?”
The urgency in my son’s voice shot into my ear from my cell phone. The initial embarrassment of forgetting to turn off my cell phone during a golf game evaporated immediately.
“Dave. Why? What’s the matter?” I was sure everyone around me heard my heartbeats. My husband stopped our golf cart, and stared at me.
“Mom. Understand. I’m okay. Alright? I’m okay.”
This, of course, did nothing to calm me.
“I’ve been in a rafting accident. I’m in an ambulance on the way to Golden.”
“Oh, Dave.” I fought to control my voice and tears, and ordered myself to hold it together. “What happened? Is everyone else okay?”
The hesitation in his answer sliced through me.
“Our raft flipped over and… and my friend Rene died.”
Shock, fear and sorrow ricocheted around in my brain, but also thankfulness that I was hearing his voice trying to calm me down. He took a deep breath and related the horrific story of a weekend rafting trip gone terribly wrong.
My husband and I dropped everything and drove the four-hour trip through the night to arrive in Golden at 1:00 a.m. All I could think of was to be strong for my son who had obviously gone through the worst 12 hours of his young life.
However, when I saw my red-eyed limping son at the hotel waiting for us, my tears of thankfulness mixed with sorrow burst through the dam.
My son was exhausted from telling the story many times to the search and rescue, police, doctors etc. so we let him tell us what he could before we turned the lights out for a sleepless and restless night.
My heart couldn’t stop aching for the lovely young man whom we’d never met, and whose life had ended all too soon in a matter of minutes. Rene was well-known, and popular, and only a turn of fate placed him in the front of the raft, where two occupants were thrown into the river. Only one was retrieved to the safety of a floating, albeit eventually upside down raft.
The next day we had to clean out Rene’s truck and drive it back to his awaiting fiancée. (They were to be married in one month) Again, my tears would not be denied, as I looked at the lettering on the truck of this young man’s business. He had built a new business, was going to get married, had his whole life ahead of him, but within minutes on the river, everything he and his fiancée had planned ended.
During the long drive home, I reflected on how we are given people to love in our lives. Without the ecstatic ups from marriage, births, and watching your kids graduate etc., and the heart-wrenching downs of family feuds, sickness, and death etc., we wouldn’t be able to express ourselves realistically in our writing or identify with how others write using these emotions.
Personally, I feel blessed to be able to love deeply enough to have a battered and scarred heart. Scar tissue is stronger than the original tissue and is a testament to life.
If you’d like to read the amazing blog written by Chelsea, Rene’s fiancée, here it is.
So tell me, how has life affected your writing, or do you have a favourite author, whose emotional writing you can identify with?