June 15, 2008

June 15, 2010

Too late! The clock is chiming 6:00 pm, and now it’s too late.

I kept thinking I could, but I couldn’t. All day I watched the time, kept trying to figure out a way. I tried. I tried to reach her to tell her to skip the hike. I tried to tell her to not go up the mountain. To stay safely at home and away from Peru. I tried to warn her about her awful headache, and the altitude, and the narrowed vertebral artery in her neck, and the birth control hormones in her body; about all the risk factors, but she couldn’t hear me. Didn’t get the message. Now it’s too late; I’ll never be able to save her.

That’s a father’s first job, to protect their children. It’s a primal, physical job. Teach them about danger, then keep it at bay. If it gets too close anyway, destroy it or grab the children and flee. But keep the children safe.

Now it’s too late. The clock is striking 6 and the stroke is beginning, a change in a blood vessel near the base of her brain. The blood has been struggling to pass through the constricted artery for some time, but now for reasons that will never be explained, it’s blocked altogether. Lacking precious oxygen, the cells of her mighty brain begin to die. First one, then many in the tightly packed bundle that enters the base of her brain from the thousand tributaries branching throughout her body.

Defeated, she collapses on the bed. It’s about 6:00 pm on June 15, 2008. It’s Father’s Day.

I need to get as close as possible to her confusion, her pain and terror. I need to be with her as her vision blurred, words escaped her, and her sense of touch slipped away. I can’t do that yet, but one day I will. No one could save her, but I can remember and feel what she felt.

The story of her experience on the mountain in Peru as told by her traveling companion, Molly Harrington, is recorded elsewhere in this blog. Over the next several days, I’ll recall here what happened from the moment I received the horrible news in Boston until Mariah was medevaced from Lima, Peru to Washington, DC.

– Mark

“Each day, every tiny victory mattered.”
– Janet Hayes, UUA colleague.


One Response to “June 15, 2008”

  1. Leah said

    So, so sorry for your loss Mark. Thinking of you.


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