Filed under Student Projects

He’s Gone: A Memoir

Freshman+Davy+Brown+with+her+brother+Louis.
Freshman Davy Brown with her brother Louis.

Freshman Davy Brown with her brother Louis.

Photo courtesy of Davy Brown

Photo courtesy of Davy Brown

Freshman Davy Brown with her brother Louis.

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Davy Brown wrote this Memoir for her 9th grade Lit and Comp class.

I could barely open my eyes as my Dad gently lifted me from my bed.  I didn’t know what time it was or where we were going, but he told me we were going to go see Mommy.  He must have had my shoes already, because he walked unwaveringly to the black Suburban that was already scraped from all the built up frost.  I felt his muscles twitching and his heart pounding as we walked out into the crisp, Aspen air.  The skies were dark gray and there was a faint breeze that nipped at my nose as I lay in my father’s arms.  Though it was beautiful to see the fog collect around the towering mountains, the morning felt gloomy and glum.  His strides were large and quick, and his grip around me was strong and tenacious.  He was mumbling something to himself and I could just barely make out the words, “God, we need you,” as I fell back into a harmonious dream.

When the flame of my consciousness was rekindled, I found myself in our car.   I glanced out the window and could catch streaks of color rush by me as the car flew down the highway.  The sun was just coming up into the sky, so there was a faint glow of delicacy shining over the horizon.  My dad was still whispering to himself as his eyes unceasingly flashed around every part of the road.  Other than that, the car was quiet.  All I could hear was the humming of the engines and the whoosh of wind as the cars past us on the other side of the road.  Hesitant to break the qualmish silence, I articulated in a scratchy voice, “Daddy, is Mom ok?  And where are we going?”  At this, I sat up.  My neck was sore from leaning against the chilled, frosty window.  I blinked my eyes to get rid of the foggy vision you get from a deep sleep.  Then I looked around and I saw that we were approaching a tunnel.  Dad realizing that i had just asked a question, snapped back to reality and instantly replaced his concerned stern face with a loving smile. Honestly, I could tell he had to pull it out.  I feel like it almost pained him.  His grin was there but his eyes screamed with anxiety and sadness.   “Davy girl, mommy is fine.  We are going to meet your new brother.”  At the sound of his own words, his expression changed and instantly returned to it’s painful redness as he went back to watching the road.

Racing to the Denver hospital was a choppy and expeditious ride.  Dad had explained to me that mom was sent in a helicopter because the baby came too early.  Three whole months early to be exact.  He also elucidated that we had to get down there as fast as possible to make sure the baby was all right.  Though he said everything was going to be ok, it was hard to believe because he repeated over and over in a soft whisper, “God, we need you.”

Now, I didn’t know exactly what was going on considering I was four years old, but the person that always taught me to choose joy was breaking down, and I didn’t know how to help him.  His tear stained eyes would look at me through the rear view mirror; then he would take a deep breath and would continue with his driving.  Precisely how fast we were going the whole time, I can’t say.  However, I know we arrived to the hospital in about 2 ½ hours.  Overall, that is outrageously fast for a trip to denver.

Upon arriving at the hospital, my dad hastily grabbed me and sprinted to the front desk, “My wife and son are in one of your rooms here.  She just came on the flight for life helicopter and we need to see her immediately.  Please help me.”

The lady hesitantly looked at him, and then to me.  The anticipation was killing my Dad as he bounced me on his hip.  The nurse took a settling breath while wondering how she would tell my dad that I couldn’t come with him.  “The little girl is going to have to stay out here.  Trust me, you wouldn’t want her to possibly see… um.”  She whispered something to my dad and he looked at me.  The expression on his face when the nurse was quietly speaking to him was full of terror.  It turned pale and seemed to lose all its pigment.  He bent over and grabbed my hands.  “Sweetie,”  He said in a high cracking voice.  He paused and cleared his throat.  “I have to check on mommy, I’ll be back, but in the meantime stay with this nice lady.  Be good please.”  At saying this, he ran down the hallway without looking back.

As I stood in the midst of all the carts and people running around, my mind was going over all that was happening.  I was so confused and shocked that I felt like time stopped.  I knew something was wrong by the way everyone was acting, but I really couldn’t make out what the problem was.  Was my mom ok?  Was my new brother ok?  I really had no idea.  All I could do was find ways to make myself happy.  It was the little things.  For example,  I found a box holding blue rubbery gloves.  I asked the nurse if I could go to the bathroom.  I stood on my tiptoes and filled it with water.  The sensation i got while holding the hand balloon made me start thinking, “Is this what it will be like to hold my new little brother?”

I went with the nurse and she took me to a room with some stiff uncomfortable black chairs and a tv.  The walls were plain white and there was a plastic table with hot water and coffee on it.  She looked at me with her tired eyes.  Her hair was pulled back into a messing brown bun the bounced as she strode across the halls.  “Would you like some hot chocolate honey?”  I nodded my head and she handed me a steaming white cup that warmed my palms.  I sat in the chair and stared into the dark creamy liquid in my cup.  I lifted it to my lips and I felt the steam of pleasant hot cocoa wash down my throat.  Right as she was leaving I looked up at her and she paused.  I could tell she had someplace to go but she gathered herself and turned around and sat next to me.  She put her cold hand onto my knee and looked me in the eyes.

“Everything is going to be ok but your new brother is really sick.  We honestly don’t know if he is going to live.  Your Daddy just called your grandpa to come pick you up because he might be here for a while.  I’ll be back to get you when he arrives.”

She lifted her hand and dashed out of the room.  I sat in shock at the words she had just casually told me, awaiting the moment when I could see a friendly face again.

A couple weeks passed, and the new baby we now called Lewis was healing.  He couldn’t leave the hospital quite yet but my grandpa drove me down everyday to go see him.  One of the days when I pranced into the room with an excited smile, I found my dad holding little Lewis in his arms.  I stood in the room and it was gray and the sound of rain hitting the window filled the room.  As I walked in, the nurse caught me and explained that I couldn’t touch him until I had a mask over my mouth.  I took it from her hands and slid it over my ears.  She sat me down in a soft blue rocking chair.  My dad kissed Lewis on the head and looked down at me.  He flashed that loving smile which I couldn’t see but I recognized it through the way his eyes squinted over the mask.  “You ready Davy girl?”  I excitedly reached out my arms and he set the precious bundle in my arms.  The nurse held his neck up as I looked into his bright blue eyes.  My stomach filled with butterflies.  I had a new healthy brother!

As my dad took the baby back I sat in the chair and saw the joy return to my dad’s face.  I sat admiring this until I heard Lewis’ breathing become shorter and shorter.  My dad’s face instantaneously lost all its color.  Lewis was hyperventilating!  He screamed for the doctor but there wasn’t any response.  Suddenly, the choking noise stopped and his body went limp.  With a cry full of terror and unbelief my Dad screamed,

“HE’S NOT BREATHING, HE’S NOT BREATHING! SOMEBODY HELP ME HE’S GONE!”

He leaned over and helplessly moaned over the lifeless bundle.  His tears poured down his cheeks and stained the blue blanket. I felt my eyes sting with disbelief as I watched my strong hopeful Father sob over my dead brother.  Not knowing what I could possibly do to help, I remembered the car ride over here.  I took a shaking breath and whispered to myself over the noise.

“God we need you.”

With an immediate moment of inspiration and hope, he lifted his head and stared at me with intense, red, swollen eyes.  He tore the blanket off and pushed multiple times on Lewis’ chest.  He did this, over and over, until finally there was a release of air that came from the child on the bed.  Lewis was panting and gasping for air but his heart was beating!  The moment after this the doctors rushed in and grabbed him off the bed and pushed my dad out.  I was still struck with fear and unable to move but they picked me up and took me out as well.   Sir, You just saved your own son’s life.  At this, the doctor left us and swiftly bolted back to the room.

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