Scylla the Rock

Scylla the Rock
October 28
Rogue Soldier Bad Cop I always believed in redemption through violence until I became crippled and retired. Now I seek redemption through forgiveness. "...fear, that secret fear that follows every professional to the grave. Namely, that one day, out of a past so complex that he himself could not remember all the enemies he might have made, one of them would find him and demand the reckoning."-LeCarre "Men die and they are not happy"- Camus


Scylla the Rock's Links
SEPTEMBER 26, 2010 4:38AM

While you were sleeping

Rate: 48 Flag


"While you were sleeping our babies grew,

the stars shined

the shadows moved...

While we stared for hours in our makers face."-E.P.



     Today (25 Sep) is my son's birthday.  He is 23, yet now he is always 21.  He was shot to death 6 May 2009.  He died without me in the parking lot of a shitty steak house.  Alone.  I did so fail my only son.  My son, my son.  A pain without end.


     I was going to write a post about how I came to live with two dogs and a car all named Scylla.  A few nights ago after giving my wife, Sarah, her night medicines, and kissing her goodnight I sat next to Sarah in the dark composing this post of the Scylli in my head, resting like a fucking fool while the Angel of Death came:

     O430 hours, the alarm clock begins to buzz.  Not able to roll over the man begins a complicated set of maneuvers; pull your legs up tight, grab the headboard and pull while slipping to the right, while the clock buzzes into the silence.  He slaps the clock and calls out to his sleeping wife to awaken.  She sleeps on.

The man understands and lets his anger build and flow.  Sarah has only been home from Iraq for weeks with a fractured hip.  Now the Army has decided that she can perform administrative work as she recuperates.  Sarah, as always, takes this with good humour and an attititude of loyalty and dedication.  In preparation for work Sarah's doctor's have changed her medicine.  Tonight not feeling well Sarah turns in early.  This man is selfish and wants his injured wife home to rest in his arms.  To love her and whisper in her ear, You are me and I am you.  We share this soul, we share this heart, we share this pain without end.  You are my strength and the only reason I live.".  He calls out to his wife again.

No response.  Ok, pumpkin come on I'll get the coffee.  Nothing.  Now still facing away he turns on the light and prepares for the painful left turn.  Grunting and sweating he performs his routine in reverse.

What the fuck?  Sarah is half off the bed sprawled onto the nightstand which is swept clear of lamps and books and drinks.  He rubs her back,  Come on ba...her back is cold.

An adrenline rush?  A premonition of an evil known too well?  The hand of God?  The man bolts upright.  He slips off the end of the bed.  Moving to Sarah's side he can see that her olive, tawny skin is ashen.  Her side is crowded with his chair, theraputic heat pump, night stand and the rest of his detritus of being a gimp, he can only reach Sarah with one arm.  One hundred pounds, his tiny smidgen of a wife...a single arm curl to lift and turn Sarah over.

Can anyone else feel the world tilt and sway as this man clings with an iron grip?  In the second of a second the Universe begins to collapse...

Check her eyes, both rolled back into her head.  No pulse.  No breath sounds.

And the Angel of Death Screams.

There is that moment, that second, that instance when everything stops.  There is no one else.  The is nothing else.  His world has ceased to spin.

This man grabs his wife and flips her over his hip onto the floor.  CPR. GO.  NOW.  GET THIS RIGHT YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

Push and pump and breathe for her.  And again.  And again.  His sweat drips onto Sarah's sweet, beautiful face.  And push, and pump and breathe for her.  And again.  And again.  Time is nothing, it stops and spins and stops again.

And Jesus wept...

Sarah suddenly pulls a hard ragged breath.  He stops.  Check her.  Pulse, Weak and unsteady.  Breath, ragged and hard sounds, intermitent, a gasping sound of saddness.  Check her eyes.  Left rolled back.  Right staring and fixed.

She stops breathing.  He slaps her and screams, SARAH.  She pulls air with a moan he will hear forever.

Now move.  Yet everything is so slow.  He remembers this hard fight of time from combat.  YOU MUST KEEP MOVING.  STOP AND SHE DIES.

Always keep moving.

He moves, while his everything lies on the floor dying.  Running down the hall screaming for Brother Thomas.  TO MOVE.  TO COME.  TO SAVE SARAH.  TO SAVE SARAH.  Brother Thomas appears.

Sarah is dying.  Go to her while I make the call.  If she stops breathing slap the shit out of her.  He goes.  The man runs down the staircase.  Makes the call.  The sound of hard slaps tears his heart He runs back to Sarah.

Always keep moving.

Go lock the dogs up and wait at the door.  Brother Thomas, all slight muscle mass moves with a speed.  This man sits over Sarah, her breathing still rasping and irregular.  For her and a thing she will love him for some day he picks her up with one arm and clothes her with the other.  Again he lays her down.  She is blue.  Breathe and breathe and breathe.  Please, God?

God.  This man has one thought.  If you go Sarah I go with you. I am coming with you.  Where you go I shall also go.  I am weak and can not, will not do this again.  Breathe.  So please God do not let  death have her.  Please, your will be done but I can not go on without Sarah.  Have I not given enough.  What the fuck else do you want from me?

Always keep moving.

God.  This man breathes for Sarah again.  She struggles and breathes.  Kneeling over his dying wife he steels himself.  Begins to pray and pray and pray.

"In Nomine Patris"


"et Filii"


"et Spiritus Sancti."





And so he prays.  He makes the sign of the cross on her forehead.  The EMTs and Brother Thomas have to fight this man away from his wife.  As they tend to her he does notice that their bedroom is now crowded with medics, firemen, and police.  A police officer asks , Is she probable? (is she going to die)  The response is a shrug of the medic's shoulders.  Now the man is throwing everyone out of his way to get to Sarah.  He is wrestled down a flight of stairs.

Questions and questions and questions.  This man hears a gasping groan from Sarah.  He stands.  He hears another groan.  He begins to move.  He hears his name in a faint gasp of breath.  Now no one can stop him.  He is throwing men out of his way, he pushes, he shoves, he strikes.  He is holding her.  A medic stops the police, we don't have time for this we need to move her NOW.  This man carries his wife down all the stairs whispering love and strength into her ear.  He slips her onto a gurney in the ambulance.  Her heart stops.  Her breathing stops. 

The universe falls. 

They brought Sarah back.  She is weak, tired and beaten. She is still in the hospital recovering and worrying about me.  She had a horrible reaction to medicines that should not have been prescribed together.  I only stop seeing her lying on our bed grey and dying and hear that horrible moan for breath when the vision of our dead son in his coffin comes to haunt.  This pain without end.

Brother Thomas is with her as I come home at her orders to sleep and change clothes.  Sleep is beyond me.  I write this to vent and get the nightmares away from me.  Or try.  Sarah says that she's strong enough to be alone whilst Brother Thomas and I take care of a hard duty today.  It is so hard to leave her.  Yet...

It is our son's birthday.  And someone has to take care of him.  So Brother Thomas and I will drive up to the North Shore like we do every September 25th.  We will stand silently for an hour or so watching the power of God's good ocean.  We will wade out a bit and pray for Alec and that God might wash Alec's soul from the eternal well of God's forgiveness and love.  Then while I cry and cry we will take a hard drink and wish our son and nephew a Happy Birthday.  And I will think of death all the ride home.

                       My son, my son.  A pain without end.

No one ever stays.  Everyone goes away.  I miss my son and fear for my wife.  I know that soon I must leave everyone.


"In your love my salvation lies."- A.M.


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I am so sorry to hear of your suffering. I wish there was something more I could do than extend my condolences. My thoughts are with you,
Heather, your kind words and thoughts possess more power to heal then you might know. Thank you so much.
Oh my god, what a scary night for you. I think you saved your wife by reacting as quickly as you did. I hope she has a full, swift recovery and is able to stay home. I can't imagine losing a child as you did. So terribly sad. Stay strong.
I hardly have words for such a time as this. I hear such powerful love and such powerful pain. I am thinking of you all and am grateful that you and Sarah are each there for the other. Grateful you found a way to help her wake.
Oh lord. Amen. Bless you and sending love and prayers to you both.
You and your Sarah are still in my prayers, she will get well and so must you. Angels are with you, always remember you aren't alone. I was in the garden the other day enjoying the fall asters and thought Sarah must be home with you, I prayed that you two had some beautiful things to look at too.

You have given more than too much so now pray as you did, pray to receive. Pray that you heal and stay longer, it's time for you to heal and be happy with your wife. It's time now for living, when she is not working I hope you find some beautiful things to look at, simple things you both enjoy. Love and warmth to you and yours.
Stay strong. You are both going to make it through this all...
I hope you will find your hard-won peace.
Rated!! I am so sorry for the loss of your son.
horrible horrible blackest of nights!

my heart breaks for you. I wish there was something I could say other than I want healing for you and your wife. and more, I wish you could know the brutal beauty of your writing and how it strikes the heart. I was there with you. THAT is a gift.
Your writing has left me breathless. Your suffering has left me in tears. Scylla, on this, of all days, I cannot string together the words adequate to give you solace. I am so sorry.

I am moved beyond love to you and are a strong man...xox
Words for when there are no words or too many words or stupid, stupid, useless words. Rated.
Thinking of you, dear friend, at this very difficult time. Lots of love to you.
It's not my place to attempt to give you solace, for I cannot carry anyone else's burdens for them, nor even every really carry my own. The medicine for this melancholy is that we are created by the suffering we endure. Whatever doesn't kill you doesn't necessarily make you stronger, but it makes you what you have become. We are the sum total of the miseries we've endured. The pleasures come and go, but they are impossible to hold onto. The pain is ever present and never ending but our responses to adversity are what makes great oaks out of tiny seedlings, but that doesn't lessen the suffering. It merely reminds us that we are not just a series of accidents because there's always a choice that we can make, to participate in our own becoming or to opt out of the process. I wish you well.
Please, please tell me that this is excellent fiction....please. My heart is racing. I don't think I can read anymore of your pain and suffering. I'm too weak. God bless you.
I know of your pain. I have lost so many. Blessings be with you. -R-
too hard to read.

so...well done.
I wish I could help your pain. So much pain. My thought are with . Keep going.r
My thoughts are with you. Hang in there.
I was hoping it was going to be "just a bad dream " in the end. Unbelievable that this happened now. You are very strong. And so is she.
sending you light and love thru my tears. i have pm'd you.
This was so exquisitely written, Scylla. the only bad part about it was that it was true. My heart aches for you. Sarah needs you to be by her side as much as you need her, to be by yours. peace, my friend.
Powerful. You captured all the feelings...all the emotions. We saw it through your eyes.

Be well and strong for your Sarah.
This is about as hard as it could get. I hope Sarah pulls through and it gets easier for you to sleep and breathe. God bless.
My God My God, I have prayed for you and Sarah and that God the Holy Spirit works through the hands and minds of all the care givers,doctors and nurses. I pray for your heart and heaviness of your soul and the eternally resting soul of your son. I pray a miracle for Sarah. You keep praying too, Scylla. My love goes out to you.
Scylla, I'm sorry. My heart aches so much for you right now I have no words.
"A pain with no end."
Indeed, we all must leave someday, and that hardly comforts me.
I keep you in my thoughts always.
Hold, with love, each moment of precious life, in the valley of death.
Powerful and exquisitely expressed.
You are a strong man and will be there for Sarah. Very well written.
I can never know the pain you went through with the loss of your son, or that frightful night with your wife, but my prayers are with you. Very well written and from the heart.
Holy cow, I can't believe any human being could go through all that you've experienced! You kept me on the edge of my seat! Please take care of you, too.! And let's quit warring and sending our people to Iraq and Afghanistan!
Yow. Heavy time suffering, in yer face. I had my fill of that
with my parents and it was energizing , terrifying,
bone-dissolving, spine-erecting,
ultimately what it means to be human...

to respond.

and thank whoever rules this damn cosmos
that there is more, with her, your love and life,
and you know how it feels in advance
to lose her...

crazy shit.
then the jews said: "see how he loved him"
i see how you love (d) them. all day long i talk to people who have lost a loved one and the torn, bare heart is nothing to be reckoned with, nothing stronger than the heart with eyes turned up to the hills.
the love you have for your family is that which would heal the world and the loss of life of one loved by you is never truly lost.

Oh, Scylla, Scylla, my friend
My prayers are with you and with Sarah
It's hard to rate this and read this knowing all you have been through. I was away and just caught up to you here.. this was so intense and real I felt I was there looking down on it.
Hoping for some relief for you and Sarah, God knows you both deserve some peace and calm. Take care of yourself friend.
There are no words to express how your piece affected me. Just wanted you to know I read and share in your pain. Wish you God's strength.
So much love; so much pain.
You are a source of strength. May peace be yours.
I cry for you in your suffering. I pray for you and those around you. You have given have done everything possible. Peace and blessings upon you and let love and light shine in your life.
I'm so glad you were there for her. I hope you can be there for yourself. I am sending all of my wishes and dreams and whatever strength I have to you and her. I'm so glad she came back to you.
;;Rated through tears;;
Your writing is absolutely stunning, yet the content is a tragedy. Take solace in that you convey a level of honesty and earnestness many can't. We feel for you.
This is so powerful and scary. I kept going back to the top to see if this was fiction, then realized it wasn't. So much grief and worry. Take good care of yourself and your Sarah. Thank you for sharing what you went through.
I'm sorry I missed this. My affections and prayers, Scylla. You are a fine specimen and it sucks so very much how much you have suffered.
My goodness. There is simply nothing left to say because you have said it all. There is a fine line between life and death and both are so absolute. It's so hard to find where one ends and the other picks up. You seem to have a good grasp on this. My thoughts go out to you.
And thank you for your kind words on my post.
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your son. I'm so sorry. Thank you for honoring your son by keeping his memory alive for those of us who never knew him.
Of all the things I've ever seen, heard, and read in my life, what you experienced is probably the scariest, I may not be able to share nor comprehend your pain, and I wish I knew how to give you comfort. Some would say God has his reasons, and they are always meant for something, but sometimes, I think God doesn't have reasons, such as why take your son and almost your wife? But what I do know, is that you saved your wife, you, not God, he may have kept her going, but if you didn't act first, she'd be gone. Just remember you do have strength, and it was because of that strength you kept her going. I hope my words have comforted you in some way
The death or loss of a child is the worst experience I can imagine. I hope your wife heals, so you can continue to be a support to each other. Your writing is clear and important.
Praying for you, Scylla. Words fail me.
Scylla..nothing worse than burying a child, any age, I hurt for your loss, and I feel for your long suffering. I hope things have improved since you wrote this.. God bless you, there are times you may wonder where he is, but he is there.
WOW! Wish I had the right words. But you do. Your emotions are visible on this page. We can sense your pain, sitting here helplessly wishing we could come up with the remedy for you. Nothing we can say or do ever really is the answer.
(((Syclla))) I am so sorry to hear of your pain, and although I hear the Biblical echoes, (my son, my son) please do not blame yourself for failing him. I don't know all the circumstances but from what you have written, you were not there, you could not have known. I will be praying for Sarah, and for you, and go back to read more of your story. Rated.
Not much I can really say or comment, except that I am beyond happy to have found your writing! Thank you for reading my work, because that's how I came upon your beautiful prose. Keep sharing!
I am late to this, tho touched. With your words, my sorrow built. Crescendoed (sp) at
"This man is selfish and wants his injured wife home to rest in his arms. To love her and whisper in her ear, You are me and I am you. We share this soul, we share this heart, we share this pain without end. You are my strength and the only reason I live."."

and ending with an ache in my heart with pain that you speak a harsh truth, everyone leaves.....

thank you for writing this, words do not ease the sorrow, tho palpable through your writing I feel the bond between you, Sarah and your beloved son. How you keep going speaks multitudes of your heart and character.

PS - perhaps there is some balance, and no, I am no expert on that - on anger at loss and grief yes but not this: but to save your own beloved, perhaps you did not fail your only son. Sarah lives. And so, the heart beats. (hoping intended meaning coming across)