Friday, May 7, 2010

Sunday, May 2

I'm starting our story from the day his deployment ended. These entries are composed from memory, my journal entries, and the notebook I used to log Jay's unusual behavior.

The Calf

We woke up at Mom's and it was a lazy, rainy day on the farm. Mid-morning we were outside with Mom on the porch chit-chatting as she was preparing the grill. Jay was very talkative and it was so nice to be out there with two of my favorite people away from all the noise of town. Nothing in sight but cows and trees. So peaceful. Until we heard gunshots in the distance. Immediately Jay jerked around to see where the shots came from. Mom quickly explained that it was just hunters far off in the woods. But, Jay was shaken up so we went back into the house. He took a Clonipin which immediately sends him into a zombie-trance. I sat on the floor and he clung to my lap til he fell asleep.

A few days before, a calf had been born to a momma whose milk never came in. My parents had been feeding him from a giant bottle. My husband, the great animal lover, jumped at the chance to feed the baby cow. Everyone trekked out to the barn in the rainy, nasty muck to see the calf. We all stood in the barn laughing while Jay made jokes with the calf. He was so at home out there with that animal. Then the rain just poured down. The noise on the tin roof stopped Jay mid-sentence. He wrapped his arms around me and buried his face into my shoulder and stood their shaking til it passed. No one said a word but I looked at my mom and her eyes were watering up. I couldn't look at my dad because I knew that I would start crying and I really needed to hold myself together so Jay wouldn't be embarrassed. Finally, he let go and went back to finish his sentence.

Jay, being a medic, gave dad tips to help build up the calf's energy. I don't know if my dad needed the advice or not but he appeared that he appreciated it. Jay knew that the calf needed a sugar boost and advised dad on what product to buy from the farm supply store. Dad needed to give the calf a shot of antibiotic and this would normally have been Jay's playground. But needles are a trigger for Jay, so he just asked my mom to get some honey to rub in the calf's mouth. He held the calf while my dad gave him the shot and then went about rubbing what ended up just being syrup (as Mom was out of honey) onto the calf's gums. This little cow soothed my husband in a way that nothing else had so far. He was like a little boy and even asked if we could take him home.

We were then off to say bye to Mamaw and then make our way to Jay's Grannie's house. My Mamaw can be an unemotional woman. I love her to pieces but she can seem a little cold sometimes. Not to me, of course, but to others for sure. When Jay walked in the door she immediately took him by the hands and her eyes welled up with tears as she went on and on to him about how wonderful he was. She said she could feel him shaking and he was having a little trouble speaking. But it truly was a beautiful moment. I have loved this woman my entire life and I don't remember ever seeing her cry. I have been with her at funerals where I'm sure she did cry but I have no distinct memory of seeing tears. And there she stood, a tiny little woman, broken-hearted by my Jay.

Jay slept on the way to his Grannie's house. She made him grilled cheese and tomato soup. Comfort food that provided as much comfort to her as it did to him. Then we were off to drop P off at her dad's before stopping by Jay's mom and dad's. He wanted to see everyone because he knew there was a chance that he would be admitted for a while once he got to the hospital for his outpatient care. It turns out he would be admitted. And we would just skip the whole outpatient step.

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