On the night of Palm Sunday 17 years ago my husband of 4 months, Kent, was out delivering pizzas and I was sat at the kitchen table trying to write up some prac work for college. It was rare that I could manage to get enough motivation and focus to write up reports but I was motoring along quite nicely when the phone rung so I was at once grateful and annoyed at the distraction.
Kent was a part time driver at the same shop where his brother was a full-timer and when I answered the phone he told me there had been an accident. Johnny had been hurt. It was bad. I was to pick up his wife and bring her to the hospital.
I went to borrow my brother's car, he wasn't home so I took the keys and went to his mate's place round the corner looking for him. I couldn't raise anyone there so I just left. I arrived to pick up Joanne and was grateful to find that a neighbour would escort me.
I remember arriving at the hospital to find a bunch of pizza delivery drivers hanging around the entrance. Kent materialised to tell me that Johnny had died in the ambulance. Joanne's English was quite poor and she must not have caught on. She seemed to be oblivious. We took her inside where she was taken to some kind of private room and a Cantonese speaking nurse told her what had happened.
When I think of that night I barely remember any emotion. I don't know whether events were too fast or too intense, I don't know whether emotion was supressed or whether I have simply chosen to forget the horror of it but I remember what happened next.
For some reason I, a twenty year old child and speaking the wrong language, was the one to accompany Joanne to see her husband. He lay there with ECG dots on his chest and a tube down his throat and the Johnny I knew was gone. The essence of the man wa so powerful that without it he was almost like someone else. Joanne was still feet away from the bed when she fainted.
I can't remember anymore of that night. I can't remember what happened at the hospital and I can't remember driving home, although I must have. I expected Kent to call his family overseas but he wanted them to get a good nights sleep.
I can't imagine what it was like for him to phone his Mum the next day, to tell her that his brother had met the same fate that their father had some twenty years earlier.