Not that I didn’t test her, but even Xena, my Dodge Challenger, can’t drive fast enough to outrun some things. Three years ago today, and for the first time in those three years I woke up this morning and felt like I could take a deep breath without crumbling. Paul, my 26 year old son, died on January 26. It was a senseless death. It wasn’t an unavoidable accident, but the result of apathy and a lack of concern by those he trusted to care for him. I struggle every day with the questions that haunt me. “Why didn’t they take care of him? Isn’t that what a hospital emergency room is for? Why was it so hard for them to realize that his illness was critical? Instead, they pushed him aside, drugged him, and decided to deal with it tomorrow when it wasn’t a weekend. But, tomorrow never came for him. The blockage in his intestines killed the organ. It turned septic and poisoned him while he laid in a hospital bed right under the noses of people who should have been trained to discover the source of his pain. They didn’t, and today, January 31, is the date we buried him. This day is the one that gives me the most trouble of all the bad days that come along. The day he died was surreal, not solid, and not tangible. But the day we sat in the frigid cemetery and I saw that box next to that awful hole in the ground that is the day that is seared on my mind like a brand. The blister heals and the angry red turns to a faint pink, but the scar never goes away. As they say, time does heal all wounds, but time seldom erases those scars. I visited his grave and looked at his name carved on that granite marker and memories flashed through my mind. Happy ones, sad ones, memories filled with regret, longing for those missed opportunities to be a better mother, a better friend during his too short life. I want him to be happy wherever he is. I want him to remember me and know that I love him the same way I swear to remember him always. I will let a few tears fall, I really have no choice in that, but I also know that tomorrow I will dry my eyes and life will continue. I will tuck those painful memories away and hold them for another year and I will try to drive as fast as I can to keep ahead of them, knowing that in about a year from now they will catch up with me again. In the mean time I hold my memories of him close to my heart. I am glad for the time I had him in my life. I am glad to see his eyes and his smile on the face of his baby girl. The grief is horrible, but the lesson is marvelous. I have learned to remember to appreciate the ones I love every single day, because we never know when they will be gone from our sight.