The water hose was running on the patio, and Lord only knows how long it had been running or when and if someone would think to turn it off.
It was a hot summer evening and just about sundown, my favorite time of the day. It was humid, sticky, the mosquitos were swarming about. You could smell the magnolia in the air, the fresh cut grass too.
I was inside with my three little ones. My baby girl was 32 days old. My middle son, just 17 months old and walking fairly well. My oldest, was four. It was such a hot day they were playing inside and too my Daddy was cutting grass.
My oldest son noticed the lawn mower had stopped and ran outside to check on his Paw Paw not wanting to miss a thing. He came back in and asked me, "Mama, why is Paw Paw taking a nap?" I gave my baby girl to my Grandmother and asked her to please not come outside. I know what an out of body experience feels like.
I remember watching my feet go down the back porch steps as I ran toward the patio, grill area my Dad so dearly loved. There he was, lying down in the running water, water hose still in hand. His eyes wide open, looking up at the sky. I flung my body down beside his took his head in my hands and began to call his name. Each time a little louder. My Mother and I worked feverishly doing CPR and mouth to mouth. My Grandmother had called 911, the baby was crying from all the commotion. I can remember all their faces pressed against the glass panes looking our direction for some kind of a clue.
I'm sure my Grandmother thought maybe he had tripped. They had returned from a trip that very day, and the first thing he did was come get me and the babies. We were extremely close. I was his last attempt in having a son, but I did give him two Grandsons. He cherished them. Although I wasn't that boy I'm sure he prayed for that Father's Day weekend when my Mother went into labor, I was his buddy. He never treated me any different, I was the one that wished on a daily basis I had been born a boy, not Dad.
We waited forever it seemed on the Ambulance, then the hometown Doctor which we all knew by name. Dad went to his home one night because my fever was so high from Tonsillitis. The Doc was playing his piano, but he did not hesitate to jump in the car with Daddy and come to our home and "see after me."
They all said the same thing, My Daddy was dead. One minute cutting grass in the gloaming of the evening. A reprieve from the summer heat of August in Florida, when you litterally felt like you might just melt. My guess was he was overheated and he loved to turn the water on, hold the hose above his head and let it flow down his body. It would cool him off and he would always get a drink of that water from that hose claiming it tasted better. When the job of the grass being cut was complete this was normal behavior for Daddy. He enjoyed the silly side of life. Then he would sit and rock, enjoying the serenade of the frogs, crickets, birds etc till night fell. After all he had been cooped up in a car for days driving
This day was different, it was his last day on this earth. I had been busy with my children but I knew my parents and my Grandmother should arrive that day, I believe it was a Thursday. So, during nap time for the babies I started from scratch on a home made blueberry pie. Just for him mostly, freshly picked berries and a hand made crust. I still can't eat blueberry pie till this day. Not a traditional one like that one was.
I prayed as hard as a human can possibly pray I believe for God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Lord anyone to return him to me. I was a baby at 22 and I needed my Daddy. But, he never took another breath. I sat there in my summer dress on that wet patio holding his head, talking to him and crying, like I've never cried before. The one person I loved most in this world couldn't answer. I waited for the coroner with EMT's trying to give me something to calm me down, but I was nursing so I would not take it. They whisked my Mother away in a puff of smoke and sedated her, because that's what they did then in the South. Woman were sedated and men had a good stiff drink.
I didn't leave his side until they came to get him and I didn't want to then. I had to. I had to go inside and try to explain death to my four year old little boy and I was no ready for that. I had to call my sisters and tell them. They had just seen all of them as he insisted on visiting all of his girls while off for two weeks.
I wanted to scream, and run, and scream. I couldn't the baby was hungry. I had him with me 22 years two of which I'm sure I don't remember, I was an infant. I've had my husband 22 years and I remember every day. Each year on this date it scares me, I fear something will happen to him. I'm afraid for him to cut the grass late in the evening, and listen for the lawnmower to turn off.
Yesterday it was August 5, 2014. It was hot, muggy and my Husband cut the grass. He parked the lawnmower and he was fine. Thank God, he was fine.