Hold On. Hold On To Yourself For This Is Going To Hurt Like Hell

Monica, Bram, Me, Nick

The Sunday after Bram and Nick retrieved the Granada, Bram and I went to get groceries. He was tired so we didn’t do any extra shopping. He was supposed to go over and join coworkers watching a football game at someone’s house, but he said he just wanted to spend time with us. Monica was home doing homework and Nick didn’t work weekends, so I was making dinner for us all. Bram said he had really bad heartburn and I asked him when his appointment for the edema was. He said it was tomorrow, Monday. I told him to mention the near-constant heartburn to the doctor. He was playing video games on the computer. I went over to kiss him and I thought he looked really tired and sad. I thought that he’d been promising to write down all the passwords for our banks and bills, etc, and he hadn’t; maybe I should remind him to do it now.

Then I thought it was a very morbid thought and set it aside. I asked him if he was feeling ok and he said he was just tired from driving the day before. He said he loved me and I told him I loved him.

Our family spent the evening like any other: Monica fell asleep on the couch watching “Friends,’ I was curled up in the papasan chair reading my latest book. Nick was on his computer in his room playing games with Bram who was on the computer in the living room. Puppy was at Bram’s feet, sleeping; Kitty was laying on top of the monitor, sleeping. 

At bedtime Bram and I laid in the dark talking for a while and then we tried to settle down; Bram couldn’t settle. He said everything hurt and he was going to go play at the computer instead of fidgeting and keeping me awake. I told him I loved him and he said he loved me.

I could hear him coughing in the living room and I wondered if he was going to wake up Monica. Then I was drifting off to sleep.

Bram was kneeling beside my side of the bed. He told me he felt really bad and he thought we should go to the ER. I was already pulling my clothes on. I asked him if he could drive or if I should get Nick–I still wasn’t driving. Bram said I should get Nick. He was standing by his dresser, looking for socks. I pulled on my shirt as I went to get Nick, just a few steps away. I told Bram I loved him. He told me he loved me.

When I came back just a few seconds later, Bram had fallen face down on the floor between his side of the bed and the wall. I screamed his name and when he didn’t answer I ran across the bed to him, shouting for Nick and Monica. Monica had heard Bram fall and she was already there, Nick right behind her. I grabbed Bram’s shoulders and turned him over. His eyes were open. Bram wasn’t there. 

Bram was bigger than anyone else in our family, taller, broader. We couldn’t get him out of the corner. We pulled him out by his legs. Monica started doing chest compressions while I prepared to breathe for him and Nick called 911. Bram’s eyes were still open. Bram still wasn’t there. 

I have gaps in my memory. 

Nick, Monica, and I were crouching in the hallway with our arms around each other while the paramedics worked on Bram. Somebody asked me what kind of drugs Bram had taken. 

“Nothing. NOTHING. He’s a diabetic. He doesn’t do drugs!” Why were they so insistent it was drug related?

Then Nick, Monica, and I were standing in the living room and a paramedic was talking to us and he said they couldn’t bring Bram back and I was falling falling falling

A paramedic said I could go sit by Bram while we waited for the coroner. Bram’s arms were above his head; they’d ended up there when we dragged him out of the corner by his feet. I kissed his forehead and moved one arm down by his side. The paramedic said not to do that; we couldn’t move him until the coroner arrived. I moved Bram’s other arm down by his side. I brushed his hair back off his face.

The paramedics were gone and they’d taken Bram and I was somehow on the phone with Conrad. He asked me how long Bram was down before the paramedics arrived. I said I didn’t know, 5 minutes? Ten? Conrad said, “Too long. Too long.” I put the phone down on the table and went to my room. 

Bram wasn’t there.

Bram filled our whole house.

Bram wasn’t there.

Bram filled our lives.

Bram was gone.

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