Forced Witness (Part Two)

04:56 Download
Paisley Yankolovich
From the 2017 CD, Forced Witness



First the misinformation from his friends “Oh, he’s ok, you just need to get to the hospital to sign papers and stuff.” Then the runaround at the hospital, “A doctor will be in soon to explain everything.” Then the news, “It’s really bad…. He didn’t make it.” Then the hours before they let me see him. Then being alone for the first time with my dead son. His open, glazed, black eyes that had once been deep brown. The useless tube in his mouth. His naked, cold, stiff body under a hospital gown they obviously put on just for show. And now the last time to touch him, to kiss him, to speak to him face to face.


Oh my God! The pain, the crying, the anger, no, the rage, the confusion, so lonely, so helpless, so forever changed. Then walking his mother and sisters down the hall to see him one last time as well. The screaming, no wailing, all the “Why God why’s” Again, so lonely, so helpless, so dead. The eyes of “mercy” all around us. Nurses, patients even police officers all trying to make eye contact with me to see what absolute destruction of soul looks like and to offer a glance of compassion in the process.


Stop looking at me! I’m a freak now! I’m dismembered! You people don’t know me. You didn’t know him. You don’t have a clue what we’ve lost here. You’ll all go home and tell your husbands and wives how pathetic that man at the hospital was tonight, the one who lost his son. And you’ll thank God you’re not me. But I have to be me forever! I have no one to go home to and my son is dead! I know what it’s like to bring a bouncing baby boy home from the hospital. The hope, the love, the joy, the excitement. The infinite dreams. Now I know what it’s like to go home empty handed. So don’t look on me with compassion you cannot muster because it’s incomprehensible to you. Just pity me. That’s right, pity me. “Poor, poor man lost his baby. Pass the salt, will ya hon?”


Now I’m destined to cry tears that for the first time in my life offer no relief or release. Now I know an exquisite pain that puts all other pain to shame, forever left to ponder why God deemed my earthly life more valuable, more necessary than my son’s. Such an ugly truth. For me to be alive at fifty and him dead at twenty. There are no words. But you’ll try to find them anyway.


You’ll try to console me with some gobbly goop about God needing him in heaven. Like my son was called from the Great Beyond to mow God’s lawn or change The Almighty’s carburetor. Stay away from me with such stories!  My son died in a senseless accident that could have easily been avoided or could have easily turned out different. But it didn’t. Don’t try to spin this into a God thing. The Lord did not take my son, He accepted him. And for that I’m grateful but it certainly wasn’t his time.


Sure, I’m the proud owner of a Death Certificate that puts the Time Of Death at 6:15 on December 17, 2013 but that was not my son’s time. He had a life, a future… He was alive! Don’t you see when you try to fix me by copping some slogan about Jesus, you actually make it worse? “Hey, let’s bring up Job, the man who lost ALL of his children to the guy who, so far, has only lost one.” It’s cruel! So is, “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.” I don’t want to handle this and I sure don’t want to find out what else I can handle. Would you? Just stop! Just shut your well-meaning traps long enough to put yourself in my shoes. You can’t. Because, like me, this is a life every molecule, every pore, every fiber of your being refuses to acknowledge as a possibility.




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