Lying in bed, unable to fall asleep. Drifting off only to see Francis’ face as he came through the door with news of Rowie’s accident; grey, aged and drawn, older than his years; fear etched into his eyes – trying to stay buoyant. “They can’t get to him yet – he may be OK, they can’t say”.
I had been sitting on a hard dining room chair for 40 minutes at this stage; ever since the volunteer fire brigade alarm had sounded. I was packing for our wee break away. Chris, Rowie, Francis, Maree and I were heading away the next day for a four day trip to Alexandra. The alarm went off and I felt an immediate, cold vice-like grip grab at my heart. I said out loud “oh God, Rowie”. I normally say “there’s some heartache for someone”. Don’t ask me how or why but I knew something very bad had happened at that instant.
Another night time terror is seeing him go over the edge of the cliff. I have never visited the place but the police provided us with photos in their accident report and Google Earth allows a leisurely trip along the cliff either from the top or from the bottom. I feel terrible sadness and pain for Jess and Reuben – his friends who were with him when it happened. No young life should ever have to experience what they did.
Chris had set off to work at 5.00pm – his last night shift and then 4 days off. Nikki was driving so he didn’t even have the comfort of his own transport. Poor, poor man – it breaks my heart to think of his fearful 45 minute journey home; not knowing whether Rowie was alive or dead; just knowing that something unthinkable had happened in our lives. I hear the words Chris says over and over again. They haunt me. “He’s never coming back here again is he?” The same song playing in Chris’ head as is playing in mine “I was born to love you, with every beat of my heart. Yes I was born to take care of you every single day of my life”. But we didn’t take care of him; we let him down.
I wish I could control the direction of my mind as I drift in and out of sleep.