Delights in Time Ch. 03


"Thanks John and please call as soon as you know anything."

Roz hung up and told the girls of the conversation with John Phillips. They all tried to remain calm but it was difficult. Since it was early, Roz decided to go ahead and eat and try to stay on plan. Maybe the routine would be good for them all.

Dinner was quiet even though they tried to stay positive. No one ate much and the wonderful dinner went pretty much to waste. No one wanted dessert and the wine wasn't opened. Roz finally decided that they had to talk about it so she began.

"You know your dad. He's tough, a great pilot and if he had problems, he'll be able to fix them. Just trust him. OK?"

"Mom, he's late. He's never late. If he was going to be late, he would've called us. You know that. He's in trouble somewhere."

"He didn't call because he's somewhere he can't get to a phone or his cell is out of range. Just be patient. He'll come home."

He has to, Roz thought to herself. This can't be the end. He called me, damn it! He was coming back to me. I won't accept anything bad. He'll be here.

"Let's not think bad things. Just wait. And be patient."

With that, they all went their separate ways to wonder and worry in their own ways. There were no further phone calls that evening so they finally went to bed to wait till tomorrow. They would have more news then.

The following morning, Roz called John again and asked him for an update. He told her that they had air patrols out looking and that Reese had landed in Honduras as scheduled and took off an hour later. He wasn't reported being seen in Belize and no one had reported in anyplace else on his flight path. He was officially reported as missing now and the authorities were on it. John told her to be patient. If he had crash landed, the plane he was flying was a good one and had a good safety record. He may have been grounded for many reasons and in a place where he couldn't call. They just had to wait till he was spotted.

Roz hung up with a bad feeling. The girls were right. Reese would have found a way to call if he were able. He was lost! That was official now. She needed a pill, now!

Nothing was heard from the searchers for the next three days. They had cut back on the number of search flights and bad weather made it next to impossible for anyone on the ground to be of any help. It was late Friday night when they began to believe the worst case scenario was no longer just a scenario. It was real. Reese was dead and not coming home.

The house was a quiet and somber place that weekend. The girls worried of course, but they saw the rapid slide in Roz, back to where she had been for so long. They tried talking to her and asking her for her help but it was no use. She had retreated back into her shell. She was gone from them, again. Reese was their last hope and he was not coming home. As she disappeared more and more into her shell, the girls lost what hope they had. The following Monday, they returned to school, not knowing what else to do. Roz never noticed.

It was Wednesday night, the girls had just gotten home from school and there was no dinner on the table when they came in; no sounds from the house. They thought Roz was out visiting one of her friends. Jacey started a light supper for them all and told Jada to get changed and do her homework. She would finish dinner and let it stay on warm till they were ready and Roz returned.

Jacey had her room at the back of the house, looking out on the lake. She picked it because of the view. It was all the way back, and she had to pass her mother's room on the way. As Jacey walked toward her room, she glanced in to see if her mom's bed was made. She never made the bed if she had been in one of her 'napping' moods. Her depression often drove her to stay in bed for hours during the day. Jacey saw that the bed was unmade and continued walking but brought herself up short! Was that her mom on the floor? She wasn't sure so she reversed her steps and looked in.

It was her mom and she was fully dressed and laying on the floor next to the bed! Jacey ran to her and looked to see if she was breathing. She was, but slowly. Jacey felt her pulse: thin and very slow. As Jacey rose to call 911, she saw a small bottle in her mother's hand and grabbed it to read the label. 'Oxycontin'. It was empty. She went to the phone on the bedside table to call and noticed another empty pill bottle and an almost empty bottle of gin. She knew what had happened! Her mother had taken pills and alcohol, trying to kill herself! Her depression had gotten to her.

Jacey got the 911 operator and told her to have an ambulance get there as soon as possible. The operator asked her what the problem was and she told her, even mentioning the pills she thought her mom had taken. No, she didn't know how many. No, her mother was never prescribed Oxycontin. Yes, she had been drinking. As she answered her questions, she heard the sirens of the ambulance in the distance. Without realizing it, Jacey had been talking to the operator for several minutes. Long enough for the word to get out and an ambulance on its way.

As Jacey was talking on her mother's phone, she heard the other line ring and yelled at Jada to take that call. It was their line. It could be something about their father since this line was tied up, and she couldn't stop to tell Jada what had happened. She could only wait for the ambulance. As she answered yet another question from the 911 operator, Jada flew into the room, yelling at Jacey to come quick.

"They found Dad! He's OK and they found him. They . . . "

Jada suddenly stopped talking as she saw her mother laying on the floor. Her hand flew to her mouth and her eyes got as big as saucers. She dropped to her knees beside Jacey.

"What's wrong with Mom? What happened? Did she fall? Jacey, what's wrong?"

Jacey quickly filled her in on the phone call to 911 and asked her to repeat what she said about their dad. Jada was silent for a minute, but finally got out that it was John on the phone and they found Reese. His plane had developed engine problems and he had made a forced landing in a remote part of Belize. He had to walk for almost seven days, living on berries, wild bananas and drinking water from the streams. Fortunately, he knew what he could and couldn't eat and he was fine. Dirty and tired, but fine.

He wanted to call immediately but they had no phones where he was found. It took another day and a half to get to someplace where he could call. The message was passed to the FAA and finally to John. John said that Reese should be back in the states by now and hopefully he would be back in Springfield by tonight. He would call with more information as soon as he had any.

Just then, the paramedics came running up the stairs with a stretcher and their kits. They quickly pushed Jacey and Jada aside and began life saving actions on Roz. They were silent for several minutes before one of them spoke.

"I have a pulse! I have a pulse, thin and thready but there. She's still breathing, but she'll need to be intubated. Give me that ET. Thanks! There! I'm in. OK, bag her! Good breath sounds! Her color's coming back. Stronger pulse now. OK, she's ready for transport."

The man and woman lifted Roz with ease and placed her on the stretcher. They lifted and were out the door and half way down the stairs before the girls were able to pull themselves together. They followed the team to the ambulance and waited as they put Roz inside. As the woman made ready to shut the door, Jacey stopped her.

"I'm going with you. She's my mother and I'm going."

She turned to Jada and told her to call Sabrina and tell her to come over and pick her up and then to come on to the hospital. As she stepped up into the ambulance, she continued,

"I have my cell phone but you should call John. Go! Call aunt Sabrina!"

With that, the door closed, the ambulance left in a squeal of rubber and Jada was left standing there, alone and frightened. She went back in the house to call Sabrina first and then John Phillips. Sabrina told her to sit tight and she was on her way. John was concerned as well, but asked her for the information about the hospital and promised to keep her informed. He ended by wishing her good luck.

At the hospital, the emergency room attending took the information from the Paramedics and from Jacey and moved quickly to have Roz's stomach pumped. He also took immediate actions via IVs to counteract the depressive effects of the pills in Roz's system. Within just a few minutes, Roz was breathing better and her pulse had strengthened but the doctor chose to put her on a respirator. While she was still in serious condition, her vitals were stabilized. The doctor came out to pass the good news on to Jacey, with a warning that they still didn't know about any permanent damage. That would take a few more hours to confirm. They could only wait.

Jacey called Jada and gave her what information she had and Jada confirmed that she had contacted John Phillips and Sabrina and they would be at the hospital as soon as they could. Jacey tried to have Jada stay at home, but she wouldn't listen. She was coming, and that was that!

In the meantime, Reese had just landed in Dallas, Tx., getting ready to connect to a flight to Springfield. He had not been informed of Roz's condition and he was still looking forward to seeing Roz and the girls again. He had time to think while he was trying to survive in the jungles of Belize and he realized what he was missing by his ill conceived travel. He finally understood that all he was doing was trying to run away from the pain of Roz's betrayal. He had never tried to understand what drove her to do what she did and he never gave her a chance to tell him what she was feeling and why she did it. She never blamed him for anything, including walking away from their marriage and later from their girls. He still couldn't understand that. How could he leave his two girls for over a year at this time in their lives?

As he waited in the departure lounge for his flight, his new, disposable cell phone rang. It was John Phillips. In just a few words, he told Reese what had happened to Roz and gave him all of the information he had. He gave Reese Jada's cell phone number and let him know that he was available to help when Reese got into Springfield. Reese thanked him and told him he would hold him to that. He hung up and paced the lounge, waiting. He decided against calling Jada from there since there was nothing he could say or do to make a difference from here. He waited.

At the hospital, Roz's condition improved from serious to fair and the doctors began to be more positive in their assessments of her prognosis. Jacey and Jada were sent home with Sabrina to rest and get something to eat and finally to get some sleep. Roz was not likely to wake much before the next day so there was little they could do.

John Phillips called to let them know that Reese would be home by 10:30 that evening and he would probably go straight to the hospital. Jacey called to give his name to the hospital staff so that he would be allowed in. She decided to stay at home and give their father time alone with their mother. She was hopeful, but could only wait and see.

Reese arrived at the hospital just after 11:00 and was told to wait for one of the doctors. He sat down in the lounge, realizing finally that he was exhausted and hadn't eaten or slept for over thirty hours. He found himself beginning to drift as the quiet surrounded him. He was almost asleep when the doctor on call shook him awake.

"Are you Reese Delgorio, husband of Rosalind Delgorio?"

"Yes, I'm Reese and I'm the ex. How is she? Is she going to be all right?"

"She's stable and her condition is fair right now. We have your name from your daughter so I can give you all of the information we have. She is stable, her vitals are strong and she seems to have recovered from the worst of the effects of her overdose. She took Oxycontin, Zoloft and alcohol. It was intentional from what your daughter said and she fully intended to cause herself harm."

The doctor paused to allow Reese time to assimilate what he had already told him. He continued,

"Your daughter found her very soon after she had swallowed the pills so the paramedics put her on assisted breathing very quickly. We hope that the quick action by everyone minimized what could have been a very serious situation. We can only wait and see if there was any permanent brain damage from lack of oxygen. We should know in a few more hours."

"What if she doesn't wake up soon? Would that mean anything?"

"Not necessarily. She may stay asleep for several more hours or several more days. There is no set time for this kind of thing. She should wake tomorrow, but perhaps not. We just have to wait."

"Thank you. May I see her? I just got back to the states tonight and I haven't seen her for over two years."

"Of course. I'll have one of the nurses take you in. You can only stay a few minutes."

He left and within a few minutes, a nurse appeared, beckoning him to follow her. She led him down the hall to a room with the wall facing the corridor, all glass. He could clearly see the bed and the equipment from the hall but was unprepared for the site of Roz laying in the bed as he stepped into the room. The nurse told him to stay only a few minutes and left.

Reese saw Roz, or at least her face. She was laying motionless, tubes running in through her mouth to help her breath, IV lines dripping into her arm, a plastic monitor clip on her still hand indicating her pulse and lines going under the blankets to measure her heartbeat. As he moved closer, he saw her more clearly, her face a pasty white, her lips dry and cracked, her hair tangled and dirty and no motion at all. If he hadn't seen the monitors with their blue and red numbers flashing and the repeating graph of her heartbeat, he would have thought her dead. The mechanical repetition of the ventilator and the electronic beeping of the monitors were the only sounds in the room.

The shock of seeing her this way was almost too much. Reese stumbled back until he felt a chair behind him and sat down heavily. At that moment, he realized that this was the woman he had loved for the last twenty years and the mother of the two most precious things in his world. It took a plane crash in a country that most people had never heard of and seeing her like this so close to death to remind him of what he had walked away from. It reminded him of how short life could be and how little fate cared for the mistakes of mortal man.

Reese was still sitting there when the nurse came in to lead him out. She seemed to understand the shock he experienced and she made no attempt to talk to him or to give him false cheer. She led him back to the lounge where he finally began to function again. He knew that he should go home to see the girls and to make sure they were OK. Actually, it was no longer his home but his girls were there. He called for a cab and let it take him back to the house on the lake that he had walked out of two years ago.

Even though it was after midnight, the house was ablaze with lights. The cab let him out and he walked slowly up to the front door. Just as he was ready to ring the bell, the door burst open and his oldest daughter ran into his arms. He held her there in the doorway as they both began to cry. It felt good to let go and to have someone who understood perfectly what the other felt. They just held each other until the sobs and shudders subsided.

Reese spent the rest of the evening with his two daughters and his ex sister in law Sabrina. The mood was quiet and depressed but lightened somewhat by his miraculous escape from his plane going down in the jungles of Belize. He was forced to relate most of the seven days he spent trying to find his way back to civilization and the girls hung on every word. It was enough to take their minds off of their mother, laying in the hospital. They finally fell asleep on the couch, curling up together.

Reese and Sabrina talked for a while in the kitchen.

"Were you aware of Roz's abuse of pain killers? It appears she had a prescription for the antidepressants but the pain pills were prescribed by a doctor I never heard of and her name wasn't the one on the bottle. The girls never told me of a problem when I called."

"Honestly Reese, I had no idea. After I sold the shares to you and you finally walked out on her, Roz and I sort of drifted apart. I know she blamed me for the loss of the business and, anyway, Paul and I weren't in a good place. I guess I sort of let our relationship slide. We drifted apart and the only time she called was when she needed someone to go someplace with the girls. She hasn't been out socially since the divorce."

"That's what the girls said too. I didn't know. Of course, I never talked to her at all so I wouldn't have known anything. By the way, sorry about your divorce. You guys couldn't make it work, huh?"

"No. Too much shit between us. We still see each other occasionally but only as friends. Nothing more now or ever again."

Sabrina looked at Reese with a calculated look. She decided to put it to him to see what his plans were. Now that she was here, she was worried about Roz's future health, not just this latest collapse.

"Reese, what are you going to do now? You are here and you know Roz is going to be very fragile for a long time. Are you planning on staying around or are you going to disappear again? If you are, it might be best if you don't stay till she wakes up."

"I'm staying. It took a lot to break through this wall I built around myself. I had taken myself out of circulation just as much as Roz. I didn't stay in the house, but I never let anyone else in either. I was just running as far and as fast as I could. Running away from the pain she caused me. I didn't have the courage to stay and try to put my life back together again. I never allowed her to say the things she needed to say to move forward. I just dumped it all on her and I took the high road and I walked out to salve my own wounds. I never even thought much about my own children, leaving them as well for the last year. Oh, I called. I did use a phone now and then but that's not giving much of myself. I just let them take care of the mess I left behind."

Reese stopped for a moment to collect himself. It was hard, saying these things. He had endured a week of misery with time to think about nothing else. It was true what they say: when you are in danger of dying, your life passes in front of you. Sometimes the things you see are painful. Especially when you realize that you put yourself first and your family second. When you realized you turned your back on another human being in pain. When you realized you behaved as if you had never done anything wrong and were free to condemn another who did. When you realized you could simply discard someone who had given you seventeen years of their life and two wonderful children because of a mistake.

"No, Sabrina. I intend to stay here and try to make up for the pain I caused by leaving. I know that Roz was at fault in destroying our marriage, but she wasn't the one that left everything behind. I did that. She accepted the blame for it and wanted to make it right. All she asked was forgiveness. All I gave her was coldness and a callous disregard for her pain. I took the moral high road without regard for the life I was leaving for her and my children. I gave them the material things but took myself out of the picture. I put them aside in favor of my pride."

Sabrina listened with a growing feeling of hope. If Reese could forgive Roz, it would make little difference to Roz what Reese did from then on. She would simply be content to know that he had forgiven her and that he would be there for the girls as their father. That was enough for Roz. She had never forgiven herself but if Reese could forgive her, she could possibly do the same.

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