*any feedback or corrections would be greatly appreciated.
1.Write on account a "first". Focus on a particular moment in this experince. Make sure you narrative has a point to it, a thesis. Your thesis does not necessarily need to be directly stated; it can be implied.
Time & Memory
Swine-flu was at its peak throughout the country, making some hypochondriacs and then others, like me, call it a fluke. News channels were filled with cover stories of this epidemic and cheerful holiday commercials. As my nurse flipped through every channel repeatedly, I lay miserably in that hospital bed, with swine-flu. She asked me, "Is there something in particular you would like to watch? Can I get you anything?" in a calm and compassionate voice, like an upbeat fifties' housewife.
I mustered up the lung capacity to murmur "Where's my cell phone?" All she did was chuckle, as if she had much experience with prying her teenagers away from their multimedia devices for five whole seconds.
Admitted to the military base hospital in southern California, where my husband and I were stationed while he was Stateside, I was now alone. While my husband was actively serving his seven month deployments, my cell phone was just another extension of my body. As it is to most teenagers, a simple phone call let me know that my husband was still alive. At most times during his deployments I took solace in simple things like, if I hadn't heard from him in a couple days and there wasn't a government sponsored vehicle in my driveway, I knew he was ok. I had no driveway and it had been more than a couple days. Through several departures and with equally grateful returns, it never got easier and the possibility of something going wrong only grew. In the back of my mind, I never thought that my reality would one day be one with only death in the future.
Day five seemed like a life sentence in the monochromatic cell block of insulation and bad wall paper. There was a printed replica painting of some off shore scenery and a fake plant in the distant corner as a means of "get well soon." The sheets were stiff, the food was stale and the doctors were both.
"Your cell phone is with your personal belongings, and probably dead," the nurse stated as she handed me an antique phone with a spiral cord attached.
Thinking to myself that sending a telegram would be more efficient, I replied with a simple "thank you." During my first full day of being coherent and alert, I remembered that my grandmother taught me how to check my voicemail from another phone when I was ten. At that time I felt excited and devious, like a spy. With four new voicemails, one was bound to be from him. First, was my grandmother giving me her weekly call about the cats and asking if I was coming home for Thanksgiving. Second and third, my refills were ready for pick up at my local Walgreens. Last but certainly not least, a long distance number I didn't recognize! This could be him; I sat straight up, ripped the loud annoying oxygen mask off, pressed the ancient handset to my ear and listened.
After nineteen years of being conditioned to always listen to your mother, professors, and church figures, I never retained any amount of information as well as I did hearing this cold and sad voice of a haunting familiar tone. "These men just showed up to let me know my son is dead and they haven't been able to get a hold of his wife. So I don't know where you are or what you are off doing but Kevin is dead." My mother in-law spitefully stated.
I hadn't spoken to my mother in-law since our phone call from the city hall three years back, letting her know her only son was getting married. The same disappointment and shamed undertones were present. My first reaction wasn't affected by the sheer content of the voicemail, but by the fact of it being a voicemail to begin with. I thought to myself, dumbfounded, "She couldn't have sympathetically just asked me to call her back when I had the chance because she had something important to tell me?" After listening to the voicemail numerous times, I hung up and dialed the given number. I tried with all I had in me to hold it together, in case a nurse walked into the room; I did not want to appear weak, especially to his mother.
His mother told me all of what happened in a straight voice, "He died on the fifth."
I was last to know, as my concept of time and reality had been lost in sickness; it now was November seventh. At that moment it hit me. As if I thought it was a joke to begin with, I rapidly paced through the first three steps of grief. I was in denial, there was so much guilt and surely did I bargain. I sincerely thanked her and hung up the phone. The next few months were a blur - my ability to recall minute details leading up to this event, seemed questionable. My memory hasn't been so sharp since then, as I fear I may lose any sort of detail or recollection of my husband in the process. I can't recall what I ate for that Thanksgiving or what I received for Christmas. I could not comprehend the fact that my husband was dead and not coming back. I had previously waited many months throughout multiple deployments in our marriage, so his not being there every morning when I woke up or not being able to talk to him every day was a casual feeling.
I got lost in days, weeks, and months with floods of memories and tears. As church members and so-called friends told me, "When it rains it pours, but then come rainbows and flowers," "God has his plan," "He is in a better place now," and worse of all "I am sorry for your loss, I am here if you need anything" I suddenly realized my bond with my husband was gone forever, so was my bond with people. Then began an unhealthy relationship with time and its cruel intangible qualities, for it was all I had left in my possession and I wanted it to stop. Nevertheless time has moved by slowly and I keep waking up each day, my anger and disappointment in doing so has transformed. My transformation is not complete, but time and I are now friends, taking strides towards new beginnings in different directions, making new memories and enjoying what I moments I am gratefully given.