Scars. Life. Love. Goodbye, 2014

All I ever wanted to be was a mom.

There’s a half moon shaped scar on my left leg where I slammed my shin into the sharp serrated metal step of a shuttle bus.

Out of breath from running, dragging my suitcase, frantic after a six-hour flight to the East coast, my tugboat man carrying everything else, and thank goodness he was able to function in a time of crisis.

I was pretty much inconsolable and incoherant but determined in my resolve. All the way across the country, I said over and over, “I just need to get to him. I just need to get there.”

I was literally running out of time.

I didn’t even know I was injured until the next day.

It was sliced to the bone and I never felt the pain, never felt the warm blood dripping down my leg, sticking to my socks, drying hard on my jeans.

I’m sure it needed to be sutured, but that constant pain, like the pain of the C-section that brought my baby into the world, is a wound I’ll always associate with birth and life.

You see, my life almost ended on April 29, 2014.

When I think of 2014, there’s really no other moment in time that so defines my year. Or my entire life.

Up until April 29th, the sun would rise and the sun would set; my tugboat man was either home or out to sea. I shopped, went to the gym, shopped some more. Life was pretty much uneventful.

Six months later, from the perspective of time, I can see that my life was split right down the middle; before the phone call and after the call.

In early April, tugboat man and I had an amazing road trip that culminated at Zion National Park; hiking and camping and revelling in the magnificent beauty of nature.

But that one particular day stopped me in my tracks.

It was one of life’s pivotal moments. What if we had been out of cell range? What if we hadn’t made it in time? What if he hadn’t had the surgery in time? What if?

It could have gone either way.

The path not taken probably would have caused my disappearance from the world of blogging, of social media, and maybe you’d have thought to yourself, “I wonder what happened to Princess Rosebud?”

I wouldn’t have survived. I’m not being melodramatic; I’m stating this as a simple truth. I would not have survived.

All I ever wanted to be was a mom. 

I was one of those little girls who always had a doll. I didn’t so much want to play house as I wanted to be Mommy. I wanted a baby of my own one day to love and nurture and care for and take care of — and protect from all harm.

It didn’t matter how smart I was or how well I did in college; it was is my calling.

My passion.

Lucky for me that my dream came true when I had my Angel Boy. From the very beginning, he was my amazing joy. His smiles, his bright eyes; they sustained me like no food ever could.

Even now, a phone call or an email from him makes the sun shine a little brighter, my day a little happier.

Oh, he was sick from time to time with the normal childhood illnesses; he broke a bone or two from skateboarding, but he grew strong and tall and his mind was a whirl of shiny brilliance and creativity.

No one clipped his wings.

I always told him he could do anything. He has no limits.

He was limitless.

The Boy Who Was My Heart 

You know how you think you’ll be when you’re a mom, but no one prepares you for the reality of it; the limitless love, the fierce primal desire to protect from harm and pain and sadness — and most of all the fact that none of those feelings end when they’re grown up and on their own. 

That’s still how I still define myself. I’m Angel Boy’s mom.

That 3:00 a.m. call that propelled us to the airport for a six-hour flight that caused me to run and trip on the metal step of the shuttle bus so we could rent a car for the final hour-long drive to the hospital to see my Angel Boy’s face before his emergency surgery was the most horrible moment of my entire life.

Nothing else mattered. Nothing else matters.

We were all thrust into a vortex of a limbo world. Waiting to get to him, waiting for the emergency surgical team to assemble, waiting by his side as he was prepped — watching his body contort in agony that I couldn’t do anything about, his eyes filled with pain — but I could feel each spasm in my own belly — and finally waiting for the surgeon to appear. Not really talking, not watching the TV that was mounted at an odd angle on the wall in the waiting room; a desolation of uncertainty.

For three hours I was stationed in the hallway, the first to hear and then see the elevator doors open, my eyes fastened on the surgeon’s face.

He wouldn’t even need to speak; I knew his face would reveal everything.

And the huge smile on the surgeon’s face lit up the universe. No words were needed.

Everything was going to be OK. He survived. It was tricky, worse than we thought, but he was fixed.

He was whole.

My Angel Boy made a complete recovery. He’s healthy and happy.

And alive.

I see the scar every day and it’s a constant reminder to not take anything for granted; that I almost lost everything — but I didn’t.

All I ever wanted was to be a mom.

Goodbye 2014…
Cheers to a healthy and happy 2015!

POSTS ABOUT THE SURGERY:

1. That Dreaded Call at 3:00 a.m.
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/01/that-dreaded-call-at-300-a-m/

2. Time To Exhale
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/06/time-to-exhale-hospital-update/

3. Full Circle From Hell to Happiness
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/10/full-circle-from-hell-to-happiness/

4. What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma, Unit, and Mother’s Day Have in Common
https://enchantedseashells.com/2014/05/11/what-does-a-cosmo-the-trauma-unit-and-mothers-day-have-in-common/

 

 

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The Unbearable Death of a Boy-Man

It’s been  a year since my son’s boyhood friend tragically died in Hawaii from a surfing accident.  His body was never recovered. I wanted to take a moment to remember this bright shiny boy and the joy he brought to everyone he met.

From Kirk's Facebook page

From Kirk’s Facebook page

The loss of a child cannot be fathomed.

Who could ever be prepared for their child to die before them?

There must be endless tears and sorrow and sadness and a forever and unrelenting pain.

For me, it’s a pure and simple matter.

If I never heard my son’s voice again or was never able to wrap my arms around him, I don’t know if I could take another breath.

…On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, Kirk Passmore, 32, a passionate big-wave surfing veteran and Hawaii resident, is presumed to have drowned and as of today his body has not been found.

One minute he was alive, surfing an estimated 20-foot wave at Alligator Rock on Oahu’s North Shore, with an audience of other surfers and photographers.

He dropped into the steep face of the wave before falling over the front of his board and into the water.

The top of the wave crashed over him and witnesses say he surfaced for a brief moment before he was crushed by another wave.

It was the last time anyone saw him.

Although extensive searches have been conducted in the area, he’s been missing since the day of the accident and is presumed drowned.

It was all caught on video.

This is the video of his last wave. Somehow he never made it out alive.

His dad wanted the his final ride shared with as many people as possible.

Maybe you heard about this. Maybe you were watching the news on television and you paid scant attention to the story while you were on the computer or eating dinner.

Maybe you read it on the internet and saw the pictures or the video.

You probably thought to yourself or even said out loud, ” Wow, that’s really sad.”

Kirk Passmore.

Why am I writing about him?

Yes, it’s true that he was someone’s child, brother, friend.

But he was also one of my son’s friends.

They went to school together.

He’s the first of my son’s friends to die.

Kirk had the biggest smile and the reddest hair. Everyone called him “Fanta” or “Red”.

He was one of the many boys I’d chauffeur around, packed like sardines in the back seat, all gangly legs and arms, endlessly stuffing their mouths —  bottomless pits of growing boy bodies– with the cookies and smoothies and other snacks cheerfully provided to everyone who came over.

A carful of boys talking about school, skateboarding; laughing, always smiling, always a thank you for the ride as he slammed the car door.

“See ya, Jason.”

A flash of bright red hair lit the way as he ran up the walkway to his house.

But no more.

I bet for most of these boys – and I still call these thirty-somethings BOYS because to me they will always and forever be “the boys” or “the guys” — my son’s friends from Kelly Elementary, Valley Junior High, and Carlsbad High School — this is their first experience with death and subsequent thoughts of their own mortality.

I feel so bad for his family and his friends who are mourning him with candlelight vigils, surf paddle-outs, tributes, and memorials. 

To honor Kirk, they’re handling their pain with grace and beauty.

One of them, artist Bryan Snyder, created a memorial wall in our town. If you’re ever in Carlsbad, check it out.

Bryan Snyder

Bryan Snyder

Our deepest sympathies go out to Kirk’s family. Our hearts are heavy and we are so very, very sorry for their loss.

The Passmore family released the following statement:

Kirk was born February 11, 1981 in Orem, Utah.  He grew up in Carlsbad, California and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1999 where he was a member of the school’s surf team for four years.  As a youth, he was active in pop warner football, little league baseball, and basketball but his love was in surfing.

He started coming to Hawaii when he was 14 and was an experienced and expert surfer.  He was not new to big wave surfing, having surfed most of the well-known big wave locations, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Pipeline and outer reefs on the north shores of Hawaii.  He was a familiar face at Todos Santos off Baja California.  He also surfed Maverick’s in northern California and Puerto Escondido in Mainland Mexico.  He spent 3 years in the southern coast of France.  He moved to the north shore of Hawaii full-time in the spring of 2012.

Kirk was a part owner of Third Stone Surfboards in Waialua, Hawaii and a Manager at Bonzai Sushi in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

He is survived by his mother, Diane Passmore (Orem, Utah), father and step-mother, David and Karey Passmore (Sunset Beach, Hawaii), siblings, Alyson Adams (Highland, Utah); Merrily Roberts (Encinitas, California) and Matthew Passmore (serving an LDS mission in New York, New York).

The family wishes to thank the Coast Guard, the City and County of Honolulu lifeguards and Fire Department who continue the search.