I Can't Catch My Breath by Rebeckah
Summary: If Jarod died, how would Parker react?
Categories: Indefinite Timeline Characters: Miss Parker, Sydney
Genres: Angst, Tragedy
Warnings: Warning: Character Death
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: No Word count: 1718 Read: 1691 Published: 10/05/05 Updated: 10/05/05

1. I Can't Catch My Breath by Rebeckah

I Can't Catch My Breath by Rebeckah
By Rebeckah

She couldn’t seem to catch her breath. It had been that way since she’d heard the news. When she’d learned of his suicide she hadn’t reacted; she couldn’t believe it. When she’d gone to the funeral she still hadn’t reacted; she didn’t dare release the maelstrom of anger and pain that grew in her moment by moment. If she had loosened her iron control she would have started hitting that beloved face and she wouldn’t have stopped until it was unrecognizable. So she stood woodenly and endured and waited. She assured them all that she was fine, and escaped the first chance she got.

She barely made it through her front door when the first wave of pain hit, washing over her like an ocean of fire. She fumbled with the door, locking it with hands that shook so hard she could barely make them obey, and then she curled up on the floor in a ball of agony. Still, she didn’t cry, just made a strange keening noise that she’d never known could come from a human throat, and rode out the waves of grief and loss that were so intense that her very body reacted with signals of pain. Every time she thought she’d survived the storm another wave of agony would slap her upside the head and-----and she still couldn’t seem to catch her breath.

Finally the Parker will exerted itself and she made her way to her bedroom. She had thought about having a drink, but she knew she’d throw up if she tried to put anything into the leaden lump that was her stomach. She wanted to talk to someone, she wanted her mother to hold her, she wanted something to hang onto against these waves of pain that felt like they were about to sweep her away. But there wasn’t anyone there for her. Mother, dead, Thomas, dead, Jarod, dead-----she was beginning to wonder if she was a banshee, only instead of screaming a warning of death simply knowing her meant you’d die.

Still dry eyed, still trying to catch her breath, she turned to the one recourse she had to express herself. She pulled a three ring binder down from its hiding place under a stack of sweaters stored on a shelf in her closet. She hadn’t written in her journal in some time, but now she knew she had too. If she didn’t get this lump out of her throat, the other lump out of her stomach, the iron bands off of her heart and lungs, well, she though maybe she would just die too.

‘Can people die from grief?’

The sentence appeared as if by magic on the blank sheet of paper in front of her. She couldn’t remember getting the paper and pen. She didn’t remember sitting at the desk, and the hand that was scribbling down her feelings didn’t even seem to be connected to her.

‘He’s gone.’ Her next sentence. ‘He’s dead and I don’t know how to live anymore. I can’t seem to catch my breath. My heart hurts----literally hurts, like someone is hitting it with a baseball bat. How could he DO this to me?’ And with that sentence the floodgates opened and tears poured down her face in a torrent. She pushed aside the paper, it would have been a useless mass of wet pulp if she hadn’t, and she rested her face on her arms and she sobbed.

Harsh, racking sobs of hurt and anger; deep, noisy sobs of loss and isolation; soft, keening sobs of despair----she went through them all and when she was finished she was so exhausted that she fell asleep where she sat. She couldn’t think coherently, but she hoped, in the bottom of her heart, that when she woke up it would be all over----the pain, the loss, the despair.

She watched him from the corner of the room, but he didn’t see her. She watched him pour the pills into his hand, ironically they were anti-depressants, a variety that was particularly lethal. He swallowed all thirty of them, washed them down with a fifth of Jack Daniels while she screamed mutely at him to stop.

Parker started awake, welcoming the honest physical pain she felt from her abused neck muscles. Even the pounding headache brought on by too many tears and nightmarish sleep was preferable to the aching void in her heart. She wanted it to stop hurting----she couldn’t figure out how to soothe emotional pain.

‘God, will it ever stop hurting?’ Once again she was watching her hand write on the paper. She sat back, detaching her mind from the overload of grief and continued to write. ‘Will I always miss him so much? Feel so guilty? Be so angry? He left me. How could he do that? He knew I loved him, didn’t he? I thought he cared about me? Did I fail him? Should I have stopped chasing him? Left the Centre? Didn’t he know they’d just send someone else? Someone who really wanted to catch him? How will I make it through the days? How will I survive the Centre, Daddy, Lyle, without you Jarod? How could you do this to me?’

The paper tore under the force of her pen and she realized she was screaming the words into her empty bedroom. The tears came again, scalding her cheeks, her stuffy head increasing with pressure as her nose began running again, and the harsh wracking sobs resumed.

‘Oh God! What if I can’t stop crying?’ She wondered briefly, before she was washed away on another rip-tide of pain.

But she did, eventually, and she drank some water, and it actually stayed down, much to her surprise. Then she went into the kitchen, thinking she might be able to eat and remembered him teasing her about her lack of cooking skills and felt herself fall back into the maelstrom of pain.

"Will it ever stop hurting?" She whispered on the phone, her voice still clogged with tears, her fear evident in the words.

"No." Sydney told her honestly, his voice also thick with tears. "No, it never stops hurting, Angelica."

"I can’t live like this." He could hear the rasp in her voice and suspected that she’d done her share of screaming just as he’d done his share of yelling.

"It gets better, I promise." He assured her, even though he couldn’t see a better time ahead for himself. Still, he knew from his brother’s death that it would get better, one day.

"You know that it will get better, you survived Thomas." He tried to encourage her.

"This is worse. He chose this! How the hell could he do this to us!" Shrieking, she was shrieking, she realized with amazement. Parkers aren’t supposed to shriek.

"He wasn’t thinking." Sydney choked out, knowing exactly how she felt, the hurt and the anger. "He probably didn’t even remember us. After he found the bodies of his family in the bus he just couldn’t think past his loss."

"So he gave it to us." She responded bitterly, feeling hatred for him welling up inside of her, wishing she’d never known him, needing something to hit.

"He didn’t mean to."

"He didn’t care! He didn’t care how we would feel!" Tears were flowing again she realized with a touch of disgust. He wasn’t worth her tears, he’d abandoned her.

"Sydney," her voice was soft and had a little girl quality. "Sydney, I can’t catch my breath. I can’t sleep without seeing him kill himself in my dreams. I can’t take this."

"Parker, you’re doing the right thing, calling me, talking about it, mourning. If you don’t let yourself grieve it just gets worse when it finally does come out."

"I don’t want to grieve anymore. This is the last straw, Syd, I just can’t take anymore pain."

"Then don’t keep the pain, get it out. Cry, write, scream, hit pillows, talk to someone, do what you have to do to get the it out, but don’t try to pretend it isn’t there. And whatever you do, don’t hide behind your anger."

"But I’m so angry." She whispered. "I want to strike back. I want to hurt him back and he isn’t here. I’m afraid of my anger."

"I know." Sydney sighed heavily over the phone. "But the anger is just part of the hurt, it’s normal. You have to get it out too, with the pain, but you can’t use it to hide from the pain."

"A friend of mine once told me grief was like childbirth." Parker said suddenly. "She said the more you fight the pain the more it hurts and the longer it takes, but if you accept the pain, embrace it, and let it flow through you things just move faster and more easily. Was she right?"

Sydney chuckled, surprised that he could even feel amusement anymore on one level, but grateful to the moment of release on the another.

"I don’t know, I’ve never had a child." He told her dryly, his heart strangely lighter. "But she was right about fighting the pain. Take some time, Parker, let yourself work through this."

"But it will always hurt. And I will always be angry." She stated flatly.

"Yes, we will." Sydney admitted, sorrow back in full force. "But the pain will be more fleeting and the anger will ease. What Jarod did hurt use forever and we will always have those scars, but we will survive this, Angelica. Together."

And she would, they both knew that. She would continue to breathe, her heart would continue to beat, she would live day by day until the pain eased a little and she could begin to heal. She just wished she could figure out how to catch her breath.
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