In the days and weeks after Joshua’s death I replayed every minute detail of the accident over and over in my head: the panicked running, my screaming voice, the neighbor springing to action, the calm 911 operator, the paramedics running up the lawn, the stricken look on Paul's face, the consoling friends, Joshua’s little white shoes with yellow socks stuffed inside.
Over and over and over, every detail, I rewound and played it again and again and again; my blood freezing every single time. The pain razor sharp, piercing and brand new every.single.time.
Apparently I would continue this ritual even while I was asleep as I found myself awakened in the middle of the night. It wasn't the memories that would wake me it was the familiar and sickening icy feeling stabbing my chest.
I did this for several months. It became unhealthy and a little disturbing to me when I tried really hard one day not to run through the experience and found that I had some kind of sick need to relive it. Like a troubled teenage girl cutting herself, I took pleasure in the pain. When I told my friend Sheri that I thought I was going a little bit crazy, she suggested that maybe I was doing it because I was afraid to forget. She told me I should try to write it down, every detail and thought and emotion then “it would be safe.” It was a good idea.
That day I typed it all out on the computer and printed a copy. I saved it on the computer too but that was eight or nine computers ago and I can't find it in any of my saved documents.
I put that printed copy in the blue scrapbook that Holly Glines Wilkenson gave us. It also contains information from the hospitals, cards and letters people sent, and a lock of Joshua’s hair.
Immediately after I closed it in the binder, my mind relaxed. It felt like the end of a tug o' war; all that tension, all that force, all that effort, suddenly evaporated. It was like somebody pushed the stop button on a VCR.
Do you know that I’ve never read that story since I typed it out? And since then, I've never felt compelled to run though it in my head either. I have gone over the events of that day a few times over the years but only when I wanted to. I am sometimes curious if I remember things correctly but so far, I’ve never had the guts to read what I wrote and check.