“We Got This!”
It was the morning of November 7, 2009. Sue and I drove through the early morning hours after receiving a call from Ruby Memorial Hospital that “your son was found unresponsive in a parking lot” and it looks very bad for his survival. That’s all the information we had to go on. It only took one look at our son to know he was probably not going to make it.
We pulled into the hospital as the sun was rising over Morgantown. The lots were all blocked-off because there was a home football game that afternoon and the hospital borders the stadium. They actually share parking. We could see the gates down and saw-horse barricades as we approached the parking garage adjoining the Emergency Room entrance. Thank goodness a guard came out (just in time) because Sue already told me she was going to plow through it! She had to hit the brakes hard to stop just in the nick of time. I’ll never forget the look in the guard’s eyes.
It didn’t take long to grasp the gravity of the situation. I called our daughter, Kari. I remember telling her that she needs to get to the hospital as quickly as she can. In my mind I finished my thought… “because you need to say good-bye to you big brother”.
Sue and I were left alone in a “Family Counseling Room” and we were standing… shaking… crying… hugging… praying. It was at that moment that I looked into her fear. It was more than I could bear to see her hurt so badly. I searched for the right words to say, but there was nothing that could match the magnitude. For the first time of many more to follow, I “stepped outside of myself”; which is nothing more than emotionally disconnecting. It’s a coping mechanism that allows me to think and respond.
What could I possibly say?
It needed to show that we are strong. That we are a team. That we will get through this. That the love of — and for — family was all we need. It was our cloak of invincibility.
I simply said, “We got this!”
It sounded so damned weak to me. I remember wishing I could take it back, but to my amazement I could see the comfort and empowerment it gave Sue. She gave a quick smile, then a slight nod, through her tears. I pulled her into me and hugged her firmly. I could feel her body heaving. She put her head on my chest and I kissed the top of her head. Even though I was not so, I had to come across as emotionally strong.
We got this… it became our tagline.
It defined how we would handle ourselves. The thing is, this was nothing new. It was how we always approached difficult situations. I did nothing more than put words to it.
So, here’s where I’m headed. First, I’m so proud of my family. We refuse to give-up. Yes, we are strong and loyal… make no mistake about it. We approach everything with the passion of a family. Second, we are emotionally intelligent. We understand the consequences of our actions and the impact it has on others. We don’t make split-second decisions or react like barbarians. Third, we are pretty damned smart. I’d not hesitate to pit us against any other in a game of Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, or Family Feud. Collectively, we are a hell of a force. It is the interplay of these qualities that we rely upon.
Now, given the choice, it’s much better than how people feel about the criminals and their families. I love that I’m not a violent felon’s father. I sure as hell love that my wife is not at all like a leather-faced bitch! Holy crap, that would be awful. Sure, I love that my testicles are securely between my legs (and not in my wife’s purse), but mainly because my wife is the purest person I ever met. I (half-) jokingly tell people that I married my conscience. I’m telling you, if you haven’t, you must read Sue’s words on family titled, Family. It’s What We Do.
Yes, Sue is the love of my life. I still call her “my bride” (and still owe her a proper honeymoon… other than a seedy motel with a skunk in the pool. True story!) because our vows have not changed. Yep, for better or worse.
Welcome to the “worse”, my friends. Our marriage? It couldn’t be better.
My daughter… well… there’s just no way to seriously draw a comparison between the two families, so I’ll instead contrast the two in my next post. I’ll focus on differing mentalities. Sit tight… this’ll be a doozy! People from Welch, WV and anyone else who grew up or live in a rural community (as I did) should pay particular attention.
What can I say? How I would hate to be “them” despite all my family has endured! Their family name that is so despised. One that is associated with violence, hate, blame-passing, enabling, and gutter-level values. I would be ashamed to be seen in public. Meanwhile, “Diviney” carries respect and admiration. I’m proud of this. Damned proud! And I don’t mind saying so, even at the risk of sounding conceded. We sustained when heaven and earth collapsed around us.
Still, as much as I am bragging, it takes Team Diviney — you — to make this bigger than what happens inside the walls of our home. Without you, we are just like every other strong, well-connected family. Oh, how I wish my family was never tested. How I wish you never knew of us! At least not this way.
As for “Team Diviney”, it is admired and revered. It’s built on moral principle, love, caring, and doing the right thing. It’s good and decent people taking up a noble cause that does more than keep my son relevant. It’s much, much bigger than that. It is the living, breathing embodiment of good against evil. How I thank all that is “good” (i.e., God, to many of you) that you do this in my son’s name. How I wish I had your faith! For now, and probably forever, I must believe that my love and hope is akin to faith. I suppose there’s really no difference. Aren’t these the same at the core; love, faith, and hope. I believe in good… I wonder if that’s good enough to pull me out of this hell?
November 7, 2009. Exactly three years and eight months to the day. Such simple words came out of my mouth… We got this! What I thought was something shared between the two of us, probably never to be heard again, was foolish on my part. Looking back on it now I realize why there was such power in those three words. “We” was not me and Sue.
“We” was Team Diviney.