In 2005 I married my wife, Marissa. When we had our daughter Alexa we could not be happier. Years went by and together we saw our daughter grow up, develop her own opinion and personality, but there was also something strange about her, something that we could never fully place...
When Alexa couldn't talk, she babbled to people we couldn't see. Maybe that babbling didn't mean anything and she was trying out sounds. But the strange thing was that she always seemed to look up when she was babbling and crawling after things that we couldn't see. Did she live in her own fantasy world?
As she got older and started talking, she often pointed to things in the sky and said, "Daddy, look what she's doing!". I thought it was scary, but my wife thought there might be something psychologically wrong so we went to see a child psychologist. The psychologist couldn't make a diagnosis because she was too young, but also noted that she seemed to see things she'd rather focus on than people talking to her or pulling a crazy face. No matter how much noise you made, she would just look past you to follow something in the air.
Alexa went to school where she was often bullied when she claimed to see someone standing in the classroom others couldn't see. Because other children were sometimes frightened by her stories, Alexa was expelled from the classroom. After this she didn't talk so much about what she saw, not even at home. I was saddened to see her gloomy about the stories she had to suppress, but in the end she grew over it and became a normal teenager.
The 26th of May
On the 26th of May 2017 I got up early. Like every day, my wife woke up Alexa, the three of us had breakfast and Alexa went to school, while Marissa and I went to work. After work, I picked Alexa up from school and asked what her day had been like. She usually replied ''boring, duh'', and I used to giggle a bit about it. When we were home I started to cook and an hour later the two of us were sitting at the table. She asked me "Don't we wait for mom?". ''No, honey, she's out tonight with some friends and won't be back before 11 pm.'' I replied.
It was already time to end the day. Alexa brushed her teeth while I drew her curtains. I looked up to the ceiling where the luminous stars and planets were visible. Three days ago it was Alexa's birthday and she had received the glowing plastic pictures from her mother. Alexa was so happy that we put them on the ceiling for her that same evening.
When she was ready I gave her a kiss on her forehead and I finally had an hour to myself before my wife would come back. At 11.10 am I checked my phone for a message from my wife, but I didn't have one. ''Strange, she normally calls me when she arrives later, even though it is only for five minutes...'' I was thinking to myself.
Five minutes later I hear Alexa crying, almost screaming. Quickly I rush upstairs to see what's going on. Alexa sits upright in her bed and says ''Daddy, something bad is going to happen, Daddy...''. At the same time I reassured her and said that everything would be fine, but she insisted that something bad would happen tonight. I asked if she had had a nightmare and that was the moment that our lives would change forever.
The moment I asked, she turned her head towards me and whispered, "Noah, I'm going to miss you. Take good care of our girl, I'll never forget you''. I looked at Alexa with disbelief when all the stars and planets suddenly fell from the ceiling. I lifted Alexa out of bed and asked if she could say it again, to which she replied ''I didn't say that, Mom said that''.
''Noah... that's what Marissa called me when we were in high school, only she can know that because she doesn't call me Noah for years now and certainly not in front of Alexa... and then those stars that were falling down...'' My thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from my mother-in-law Netty. I remember very well how she told me in distress that Marissa had an accident and that she and her husband were already on their way to the hospital.
Going to the hospital
Alexa and I were taken by a neighbor, I couldn't handle driving myself. While we're sitting in the backseat she says to me, "I told you, Dad, something bad would happen tonight". I had no words for it and pressed her firmly against me. Once in the hospital I was taken aside by a doctor who told me Marissa was still alive, but since 11.15 pm there was no brain activity and she is brain-dead.
Marissa's parents, Alexa and I sat around her bed, holding hands. The whole room was quiet because we knew that this week we had to decide if we wanted to take her off life support. We all looked at Marissa in the deepest silence. Until Alexa sat down on her bed and asked, "What did you say to Mommy? Okay, I'll tell them''. Alexa told us that Marissa wanted us to turn off the devices so she wouldn't be trapped...
Netty walked out of the room crying and before her husband Harold went after her he said ''You can't make jokes like that, Alexa!''. But when Alexa started looking so gloomy again, I knew that this was the special gift she had had to keep hidden for years and I was sure she really heard Marissa say it...
- End of Chapter I