My eyes shot open, reflexively tightened up and looked towards the door. Its 12:01 am Christmas morning and at any moment the door to the bedroom will burst open and my two beautiful children will run in giggling with presents already in hand. Seconds passed and nothing happened. It took a full minute before I remembered no one would be coming through the door this year. The kid’s accident was only a couple of months ago. I wake up most mornings and for the briefest moment every day, I forget they are gone. I find myself lying in bed, listening for their laughter or cries for breakfast to fill the house, before the pain of losing them hits me as fresh as the day it happened.
It was a car accident that took them away. I was supposed to pick them up after school, but work ran late. I called my daughter Samantha who was thirteen, three years older than her brother Ryan was, and told her, they would have to walk home. It was only a couple of blocks and they have done it plenty of times before, it was not a big deal. Except that day it would be.
She was only a kid, around the age of twenty-five, and did not see them crossing the street. She was probably texting, eating, or doing one of the hundred other things people do while driving other than paying attention. It did not matter what she was doing, she hit both of them and they did not make it. Ryan died right there on the road while the ambulance tried to bring Samantha to the hospital in time to save her life. They were not fast enough and in the span of twenty minutes, my life was destroyed.
Janet, my wife at the time, blamed me. Of course she did. It would not have happened if I had just picked them up as I was supposed to. She made it through the funeral and burials before leaving, and thinking back on it I could not blame her. I can’t stand the sight of myself either, that’s why all the mirrors in the house are shattered, and why the gun I bought last week was already loaded and waiting in the night-stand by the empty bed.
All of these thoughts rushed through my head as I dragged myself out of bed and put my head in my hands. It is the first Christmas I have had to spend alone. The house dark and empty. Last year at this time the kids were awake and already opening the one special present they picked out to start Christmas with. The tree would be lit, casting a festive glow in the living room. The smell of cocoa and coffee would be strong in the air, but it was the laughter and joy that would wake me up the most. As a parent, there is nothing better than seeing your kids excited and happy, and nothing does that more than opening presents on Christmas Day.