June 16, 2016 was the worst day of my life. I will never forget the place I was, the sights around me, the song on the radio, the sound of my husbands ringtone, freeway sign above us, the dead grass on the spot where we pulled over.
I remember vividly the cars honking and whizzing by us. The whole world seemed to be at a stand still, yet everything was turning so fast, I felt as if I was on spinning out of control.
My husband of 9 years and I had just left for a short vacation. We were driving down south to spend a few days in Disneyland, then driving to San Diego, maybe wing it towards the end of the week to Santa Barbara. After a few hours on the road, we finally saw the sign…next exit Disneyland. We started to get excited when my husbands cell phone rang. I looked at the screen and saw that it was my ex husband. I thought out loud, “why didn’t blue tooth pick the call up, and why is he calling knowing we were going out of town.” I wasn’t too worried. My ex husband calling my husband really isn’t out of the ordinary for us. They are actually really good friend. They are golf buddies and I thought he was calling to brag about a golf shot or how good of a game he had. When I answered, the tone of his voice was not one of cheer. He merely said, “Cynthia, let me talk to Scott.” I hesitated and asked why?? His tone become aggressive repeating, “LET ME TALK TO SCOTT!”. I handed my husband the phone. I heard him say “yes, OK, yes, we’re turning back”. I remember screaming “JUST TELL ME!!” He turned to me, held my hand, looked at me straight on and said “Joey’s dead.” I laughed, I shook my head, I called him a liar, I screamed, I slammed the dashboard, I sat still….I think I stopped breathing…right under the Happiest Place on Earth sign.
Los Angeles traffic…..bumper to bumper…..how long would we be stuck in this nightmare. It’s almost been a year
We spoke 3 sentences. We need gas. I need to use the restroom. Call pastor. Scott started to cry. I yelled at him to STOP CRYING! He stopped. His face writhing in pain. He loved Joey…loves Joey. Family isn’t determined by blood, but by those who take room in your heart. He is his son, too.
Joey’s dad and I were texting back and forth. ” Are the kids there? Does my mom know? Pastor will meet us there. Can we donate his organs? His eyes? God, can we donate his laugh?” His beautiful, contagious, carefree laugh. I told him we were finally through traffic and over the grapevine. Some words will never escape me. No need to rush. No need to rush. No need to rush. No need to rush. Joey is dead. Joey is dead. Joey is dead. No need to rush…Joey is dead.
My beautiful first born. My son and daughter’s big brother. My brother’s first nephew. My mom’s first grandchild. My baby…WHY? Why him? Why me? Why us?
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