FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: A call from a boy…

By Dave Markwell

At 4:30 this morning my phone rang. Being familiar with phone calls at this hour, I knew it was probably not good news. It wasn’t. My caller ID said, “Aden”, my son. “Hi, buddy”, I answered sleepily. What followed was a conversation for which I pray will never have a sequel.

Through some distress and sobbing, my son managed to communicate that he and a couple of fraternity brothers had gone on the roof and, during the climb down, one of them had slipped and fallen a long ways, probably over 3 stories. The ambulance had come and was rushing the boy to the hospital, and he was hurt…bad.

Hearing my son’s shaky, tearful voice telling me about it and saying, “I’m ok. I’m ok. I just wanted to call you. I just needed to talk to you,” shook me to my roots. I was helpless, but wanted to help. I could do nothing, but listen and soothe him as well as I could, while so many uncertainties still existed. He said the boy was conscious and communicating and everyone was as guardedly hopeful but…the fall was a big one.

He calmed enough to understand there was nothing he could do in that moment and some sleep might be useful later. I left him with a “wait and see” and an “I love you.” “I love you, too, dad.” And he was off the phone. I walked into my kitchen knowing that my sleep was finished and readied a pot of coffee. As my coffee was brewing, I stood at my kitchen window over the sink and looked outside at the darkness and cried.

I cried for my son’s pain. I cried for the hurt kid. And I cried for the boy’s parents, knowing that they had just received the worst phone call they may ever get. It is truly a parent’s worst nightmare – a late-night phone call saying, “There’s been an accident….”. Parents, themselves, belong to a kind of fraternity. We understand the love for a child and the pain of a hurt one. It could have been ours, we think, and feel with a true empathy, for we can imagine, and maybe HAVE imagined, the horrible late-night phone call. These experiences break many hearts.

As parents, we often travel through life navigating the daily hassles with some exasperation, frustration, head-shaking smiles and a never-ending love. A thing we rarely consider, at least me, is how much our kids need us. They need us for “stuff”, this we know, but they also need the “us” of us. They need our ability to comfort and make things right and to just let them know they’re ok and loved. They need this forever. We need this forever, too.

Following the phone call, I drank my coffee and waited for the sun to come up to head to a job so I could load up some leftover deck wood for burning at my mom’s house. I loaded up and headed on my hour-long drive, pondering these things. Arriving at my mom’s, I felt the same comfort and love that I have felt my entire life. I recognized it perhaps more strongly, given the circumstances. But, it was familiar and real and right. We chatted and I burned a big pile of wood while standing in the rain, thinking about my son and my parents and felt extremely grateful for both. In this moment, I understood the value of my position as dad and felt proud that my boy called me in his dark hour. I’m his dad and that’s what I’m here for…always and forever…and it’s the best thing I am or ever will be…

#Update on the injured boy: while suffering many traumatic injuries, early signs point to a decent recovery. He’s remained conscious and aware and limbs are working. Some prayers were answered, but I’m going to keep sending them. Please do the same…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave desperately needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.


2 Responses to “FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: A call from a boy…”
  1. Mysty Beal says:

    Awful, Dave! Don’t even want to think about getting ‘that’ call.

  2. jm says:

    What a tramautic night! Prayers for the injured boy annd the friends who witnessed this.

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