In an Instant…

This is my revelation moment, that changed what I consider priorities and my outlook on life.

A slight buzzing gradually roused me from my sleep. I opened my eyes had to remember where I was, the unfamiliar basement of my roommate’s parents house,  before I made the connection that the noise was coming from my phone. Someone was calling me, but without looking I flipped the switch to turn off my ringer entirely.

I rolled back over on the hard basement floor that was serving as my bed for the night. By the light coming from the crack below the door to the basement, I could tell it was morning. But my ears were still ringing from the club the night before, seeming to pulse inside my head in wisps of rhythms from the songs the DJ had played. I pulled the too small blanket off my bottom half in an attempt to hide from the noise and snuggled up closer to my boyfriend dozing beside me. Above my head, Laura’s footsteps banged alongside the ringing ears in my ears as she walked around upstairs getting ready for work.

I laid there and tried to fall back asleep, but with the pounding in my ears, the stomping from upstairs, and the feeling that I had burned out my stomach lining with the amount of drinks consumed the night before made it more than difficult. A further assault to the hangover I was becoming increasingly aware of, Laura opened the door to the basement and turned on the glaring overhead lights.

“Kels, your dad is blowing up my phone,” she called brandishing her toothbrush at me, slamming the door, and going back to her routine.

Begrudgingly I rolled over and grabbed my phone, and saw that is was my dad whose call must have woken me up in the first place. Still essentially unconscious, I automatically called my dad back and resumed the fetal position while I waited for him to answer.

I don’t think I even heard the words he said. As soon as he answered the phone, the tone in his voice said it for him: my brother was dying.

John was three when he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, but he had fought so long and beat the odds so many times that even having known all summer that it was coming, when I got that call it still feels unreal. From the second I got the call, until I walked in my room and shut the door after the burial I felt like I was existing in a movie of my life. It was like sitting back and watching myself go through the motions: gathering by the bed and crying with my family after he took his last breath,  standing at the wake as strangers from his life tell me they were sorry, laying my rose on his casket before it descended into the ground; all of it I watched as I did it from somewhere distant inside myself.

On the 1-year aniversery of his death, I spent time with my family doing some of John’s favorite things: eating “mini hot-dogs”, “caplice car” sticker mosaics, and Friendly’s.

In that moment, when I realized that I had ignored the call that was my dad trying to bring me home and be with John for the last time. Strangely, through the whole thing, while I watched myself grieve for the loss of my six-year-old brother, I thought about that call.

Then I thought about earlier in the summer when I asked my dad if I could go weekend with some friends, get away from the torture that was summer away from college with my family, when he accused me of not caring that John was dying.

I thought about the fact that I skipped a family barbecue to go to that club the night he had a seizure in his sleep and the end came. That I hadn’t been with my family, consistently over the past three years, unless it was convenient for my lifestyle; this all despite the fact that I knew John was dying, and for two out of the three years he was sick before he was dying I was away at college 9 months out of the year.

I thought about the fact that when my parents, and grandparents, and neighbors, all stood around John’s bed and watched him slip peacefully into the coma that he never came out of, I wasn’t there.

I was out dancing.

This post was written in response to WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge with the following topic..
“Just as we can suspend a moment in time by snapping a photograph, an instant can change our lives forever. For this week’s writing challenge: tell us about a moment when your life was changed in a split second. The good, the bad, the funny, and the thought-provoking, our lives are composed of a series of meaningful events that help to shape who we are. Every now and then, we get a wake-up call where a snap decision or revelation changes our perspective completely.”

Though my ‘split second moment’ was literally life-altering, there are plenty of significant seemingly-ordinary moments that inspire introspection and personal growth in everyone’s life. Can you think of any moments that made you re-examine your choices in life, or make a change for the better? Let me know in the comments!



One thought on “In an Instant…

  1. Kelsey – that was a great post! In response to your question, I thought of the day I came back to Millersville to finish my undergraduate degree. It was a hot day in August, and I remember everything was sticking to me. I hadn’t returned to Millersville for three years; I had taken time off to be with a sick family member and later, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in college. However, after three years of working and supporting myself, I knew I wanted to finish my degree. That still didn’t make it any easier; like the average day at MU, I pulled onto campus and couldn’t find parking, so I had to drive around for a long time. After I finally found a spot (someone was leaving; when people are leaving and you get their spot, I like to call their taillights “the red lights of salvation), I still had to walk up to Chyrst for my first class back. For a minute, being back in school seemed like a lot of work, and I remember contemplating getting my shifts back at the restaurant where I was working. But then it passed, and I walked into Chryst, headed up to 209, and took my seat.

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