"LIVING FOR HER"
Living for Her
I’m the fighter of the family. I can make a mountain out of a molehill and won’t anyone tell me I’m wrong because I will fight you on it. Amanda Rose was different, she had fight in her but wasn’t as willing to show it as I was. We called her our ‘ugly duckling’ turned swan. She went through many stages trying to find her image and finally found one that stuck. She was as beautiful as the most stunningly sunset the world has ever seen. She had beautiful blonde hair that in her opinion was never quite blonde or “white” enough as she wanted it and hazel eyes that matched anything she wore. And her smile, well that smile would just about make any girl jealous. She wasn’t one of those stick like girls, she was healthy and she knew it but you didn’t say it to her face, she’d fight over that in a second. Amanda had everything going for her but I guess no one ever thinks their own life is perfect.
It seemed like it had been any other day in May. Everyone was doing what they had on their schedule to do and not worrying about everybody else. I was with my Mother that day and when thinking back, the day went by so much faster than it relays in my mind. I should have enjoyed the day the way it was meant to be enjoyed, taken with all the beauty of the sky and cooling breeze in the heat. But we never see things for what they are until it is too late. It was about six thirty the next morning that it slowed. When most people are getting up for church or some maybe still sound asleep, our phone was ringing. I woke up to the panicked sound of my Mother’s usually grumpy non-threatening voice. Just hearing how her voice sounded I knew something was wrong. She was scrambling to get dressed, barely being able to pull her shirt down with her soft, slightly wrinkled hands shaking as they were. She hurried by me and was out the door as I was still trying to find a match of slip on shoes. I quickly fastened my steps through the house and out the door. I hit the gravel off the wood deck and looked up to see Mom was already to the bridge, halfway to my Grandparents house where Amanda lived. As I made it to the bridge, I looked up to see my Grandfather opening the screen door of the basement to meet Mom on the landing and I heard him say, “She’s dead Kat.” Kat is what he called her, when he was being sincere, I knew it wasn’t good. I got to the door and hit the landing in between two sets of stairs and made my way down one set towards the lowest level of the house and turned the corner. I stopped. I had to catch myself from falling back as I seen the lifeless body of Amanda. Lying in the floor at the edge of the doorway, her face was pale but not like a corpse pale. In my mind I thought, she’s sick, that’s all. I stepped back into the bathroom, covering my mouth in disbelief. All the time, Mom was down on the floor beside Amanda trying to wake her up, crying and talking to her, sweetly. She had her cradled in her arms as if Amanda was a newborn and she was protecting her head from falling back. I was froze, my feet cemented to the floor. I picked the phone up, hanging on the wall in the downstairs bathroom to call 911, but when I did there was no dial tone. I just assumed that phone didn't work considering they had problems with it in the past. I ran up the two flights of stairs towards the closest working phone and picked it up; there still wasn’t a dial tone. I finally realized to say "Hello?" Thinking someone had to be on the line.
Then I heard a male’s voice on the other end, "have you got the door opened yet?"
Assuming my Grandparents had called and forgot, I quickly stated, "Hold on, and let me go back downstairs on that phone." I quickly ran down the stairs and grabbed the phone.
"Yes, we got the door open and she’s just laying there on the floor, unconscious."
"Do you know how to feel for a pulse?"
"Yes, I do" I frightfully stated.
"Well I need you to go do that now," said the 911 dispatcher.
I laid the phone down and walked over Amanda lying on the floor. Mom was still sitting down beside her, cradling Amanda in her arms and wiping the pink bubblegum looking substance from her nose and mouth with a wash rag. I bent down on the other side of Amanda having to push Mom's arms out of the way and I gently grabbed Amanda's face. It was still warm; I couldn’t understand how someone dead could remain that warm. I lifted her head and tilted her neck back in position and felt for the pulse that I so desperately prayed was there. Amanda's skin was so smooth and pale but lukewarm, I’ll never forget the feeling of her skin. I put my index and middle finger right on the carotid artery in the neck to feel for my sister's pulse, there was nothing. I tried the other side, still nothing. I got up and ran back to the phone.
"She doesn't have a pulse, there wasn't one."
"Okay, I’m dispatching the ambulance now; tell me when you hear them."
It wasn't any more than 60 seconds before I heard the sirens.
"I can hear them."
I hung up the phone and ran up the flight of steps and out the door to the driveway, to direct the ambulance to the downstairs door. I helped the emergency technicians downstairs even carrying the stretcher down past the large wooden deck and oak tree. Then I walked swiftly back to my house to make the three most difficult phone calls I’ve ever had to make in my life. I was barefoot and even though I am usually tender footed, walking on the hard blacktop and stepping on the small pebbles didn't faze me, I was numb. I ran to the side door and hollered for my fiancé Doug to bring me the phone. Doug still being asleep hadn't heard anything about Amanda, except that something was wrong. He ran to get the phone and came back to the door seconds later.
"Is she alright?"
"No, she’s not. She’s dead."
I grabbed the phone from his hands and started dialing. I had to get a hold of our siblings, they should be here, I thought. I called them all in order saying the same thing to each of them, breaking out in tears more every time.
"Something happened to Amanda. She’s not breathing."
That was one of the last times I could say something about Amanda in the present tense. She was pronounced dead at Frankfort Regional Hospital on the very early morning of May 21st, 2006. Our family goes on but it will never be any easier. We will never be able to think of our Amanda Rose without a smile and a tear at the same time. Everyone always says, “Don’t take things for granted, it could always happen to you,” but I was too cocky and never thought it could happen to my family. Living without Amanda has made me realize not to take things for granted and do the things I always said I would do, eventually. Before Amanda died I was walking through life as a zombie, lifeless with no direction. Her death made me realize the things I wanted to do before my life ended. Since she has been gone I became a wife and a college student. For anyone in my family the thought of me back in school was something we always thought was near impossible considering I hated school about as much as a cat and water. I owe my life to Amanda Rose because now it actually means something, even without her in it. I live my life for both of us because she isn’t here to live hers.