Death almost took you

I’ve never been this close to death before
Not mine, but yours
Sweet Anna Belle

You choked on a brussel sprout
On my thirtieth birthday

I think it will pass
But you quickly pass
From choking to wide eyes
Those desperate, dilated, helpless eyes
Image etched in my mind

Helpless father
Help me, Father!
I cry with shaking voice
Oh God, no! God please, no!

Completely lost
In confusion of thought
Do I squeeze your abdomen
Or hit your back?
Will I lodge it deeper into your throat?

I don’t know
So I do both

I squeeze and hit
Like an abusive father
Harder and harder
But nothing works
Your face and lips turn beet purple

You go limp in my arms

Feeling your faltering life
Feeling burned into my skin
Turns my blood cold
And I pray my heart would stop
Instead of yours

I yell louder at your mother
To call nine-one-one
She fumbles for the iPhone
Dropping it to the floor

Your sister starts to scream

I don’t know what to do
You are fading, sweet child
You are fading, sweet Anna Belle

Instinct compels me to reach down your throat
To feel for that lodged brussel with my index finger

Something happens
I know not what
But something gives
And you sputter for air

Color returns to your face and lips
And we collapse on kitchen tile
Stunned and afraid

An eternity before you mumble
Brain in tact
Heart beating
Lungs breathing
Tiny hands reaching for glass of water

My mind running after
What could have happened?
Thirty more seconds
Would your brain work?
Another few minutes
Would you have died?

If you had
(ashamed of my thoughts)
I would have blamed myself
For not knowing how to save you
For not holding on tight enough
As you slipped into Death’s arms
I would have cried out
My God, my God
Why have you forsaken me?

When all my life, I’ve thought
If I were in Job’s place
Humble Job
(Humble Joseph)
I would say, as he did
The Lord gives
And the Lord takes away
Blessed be the name of the Lord

But now I know
I wouldn’t

3 thoughts on “Death almost took you”

  1. I have no words! Except, Thank you, Father. Thank you for life today. We take life for granted, as if we deserve it, when in fact it’s a gift. Thank you, kind Father. (I’m typing this with tears in my eyes, of course).

  2. My sweet precious Anna Belle! I can’t get this out of my head and I can’t stop sharing it with my co-workers. I am shaken and just want to hold my little Annie in my arms and shower her with welcome back kisses. Thank you son for putting this amazing experience into words.
    -Dad

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