Wednesday, January 1, 2014

TOGETHER FOREVER

Mekkar was home visiting for a short time to attend a gathering due to a family member passing onto the afterlife. He was not planning to stay long as he needed to go back and finish his high school education. He also had to get ready for the upcoming fall sports season of football and beyond. Mekkar was a person that lived by habit of consistent routines and liked it that way. No unforeseen surprises were a good thing to him. Being a creature of habit was too inbred by his cultural upbringing whether he realized it or not, so he wouldn’t have been able to change it much anyway.

Henrik suggested that him, Sirga, and their oldest child Mekkar brighten up the mood and celebrate the recent deceased person’s life by taking a fun trip. Of course, there would be travel incurred but Mekkar’s papa didn’t tell the other two where they were going. Well at least not up front but he would reveal their destination later on in the journey.

After a few hours of flying with the resulting change of planes, the trio arrived in Hamburg, Germany and picked up the black shiny new model Mercedes rental car. Mekkar figured if they were going to drive might as well go in style. When they got on the highway Henrik revealed where they were going and said he wanted to enjoy a nice drive on the super speed highway of Germany. Both of Mekkar’s parents had fancy sports cars at home and liked to drive fast. They were very proficient at quick motoring also. However, the not too warm summer and sunny clear sky outside would belie the dark events that were soon to come.

Not long into the car ride Sirga first gave a complement to her son for participating in a recent international hockey tournament. Then, true to her nature as she had high expectations for him. Mekkar’s mama next started to critique Mekkar’s team by saying that his team should have won the whole tournament. Henrik agreed with her and stated that Mekkar’s squad did not play to their full ability. Henrik should know as he had played ice hockey before having to change careers due to injury.

Mekkar did accept the criticism but pointed out a few points of his own. First, he took a shot off of his left foot and fractured it on his very first shift in the first period. This affected and reduced his top form throughout the tourney. Plus, Mekkar mentioned that any of the top six national powers in international ice hockey could win any event at any time. The six were Canada, United States, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, and Finland. For any other non hockey power entrant like Norway or West Germany to win it or even medal was unlikely.

The powerful USSR National Team was the rightful favorite as they had regularly beaten NHL, WHA, and squads from all over the hockey world during the past decade in International matchups. They even shutout the NHL All-Stars 6-0 to win the 1979 Challenge Cup at Madison Square Garden. Many of the other players were flat out intimidated by the Soviet dominance, but Mekkar was not. Mekkar’s parents knew that their son always compared the biggest individuals to bears from back home and this eliminated any fear of people on his part.

However, Mekkar was tired and wanted to exit himself from this conversation and the subsequent critique of his play from his parents. He then decided to ignore them and his eyelids got heavy. Soon, he laid down across the back seat to rest. He attempted to still secure himself with a seat belt while lying down in a side position but was fairly unsuccessful in that regard. It was probably a good thing too that he released that restrictive device and was not upright.

The accident happened in a 49.7 Kilometer (30.88 miles) stretch between Göttingen, Germany & Kassel, Germany less than 3 hours from their driving starting point in Hamburg.

Mekkar, who was lying across the backseat asleep was definitely now awake by the force of impact. The collision had woken him up from his nap but there was the fact that he was trapped by the tangled metal around him and now could only slightly sit upright. There was one thing he for sure aware of was the pain in his legs. He knew his body fairly well and he was aware from his previous personal experiences with sports injuries that it was serious. In regard to everything else, Mekkar was still in a state of shock and disbelief. Mekkar noticed that Sirga was unable to turn her head in either direction to inspect that status of her husband’s or son’s condition.

“Don’t take any crap from anybody, ever! No matter whom they are. Remember, you are no respecter of persons and always stay true to yourself.” was Sirga’s last statement and advice to her oldest son Mekkar. She stated this while dying in the front passenger seat of a vehicle from a head-on collision accident on the German Autobahn that was not any fault of their own doing. Then, Mekkar’s mama expired, as she took her last breath, due to the result of her considerable injuries. Mekkar’s papa’s head in the driver’s seat was already visibly crushed upon impact and had already died. However, his status was still unknown to the teenager. Henrik’s large legs were driven backward because part of the engine’s placement in the cabin. This gruesome scene had unfolded right in front of a horror stricken Mekkar. His mind was engrossed on the situation at hand and it was not restricted just to his own physical suffering.

He was also distracted with worry about the condition of his parents in front of him and concerned if their lives could be saved. Unfortunately, Mekkar was not a doctor and would not have been able to ascertain his mama or papa’s condition. Plus, even if he was qualified to help, he was unable to extract himself first. All Mekkar could do was hope for the best. Yet, there was always the dreadful feeling deep within him of the worst possible scenario that was unfolding before him. Mekkar stubbornly refused to accept that his parents might have been gone away from this realm as to their health and well being. The continual thoughts racing through his mind was not only from fear but also used as a distraction from his own predicament.

The young man from the arctic also expected his parents to evoke some power or conjure up a spell to get them all out of this predicament and make it all whole again. That is how much faith Mekkar had in his parents’ special natures. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and he began to consider that it was their time to go. That is to advance into their next plane of existence for further self development that stems from an old tribal belief system.

Anyway, qualified or not as a medical professional Mekkar was not stupid and could see some of the considerable damage done to the vehicle. He was quite aware that his folk’s survival was precarious at best. He had seen other car accidents back home where people had been killed. Mekkar had already been in a few winter weather related minor fender benders himself as a passenger. However, no where near on the scale of this.

What seemed like forever, even though in reality it was only a brief time, Mekkar heard the sounds of sirens and saw the reflection of red and blue colored lights of the emergency vehicles. Next, he heard noises and voices from the rescue workers despite his hazy state of mind. The boy listened to the discussions of the individuals describing what they saw, from their perspective, while at the same time attempting to free him. Mekkar overheard some of them say that they would be surprised if anyone in the accident was still alive. It helped that the boy from the north was still familiar with some the language spoken by those on the outside of the hunk of crushed metal. This desperation made Mekkar call out that he was trapped and wanted out of there.

At this point he was also beginning to feel claustrophobic in his unenviable confined situation. Added to the fact that he was also fully unaware of the nature of what had happened. There was a wide range of different emotions and thoughts clouding Mekkar’s normal thought processes.

Finally, they cut their way through the mangled metal to first reach Mekkar and remove him from the wreckage. Mekkar told his liberators that he had probably broken both of his legs since he knew his body well. He asked to be careful as to not make the problem worse than it already was. Mekkar was soon given drugs to put him in a state of semi-consciousness to provide a numbing sensation to sustain him and most likely to keep him calm under the circumstances. His hope was that he was able to block out much of what just occurred. Mekkar was confused and confounded by his true situation but didn’t realize the full measure.

As Mekkar was on a low lying stretcher, unable to walk, he saw where the other vehicle had crossed over into their lane in the accident and hit theirs head on. The other vehicle landed on their side of the highway. Mekkar knew then who was responsible for the disaster and felt helpless to reverse the timeline. His fierce anger overcame him at this point and he flung himself off of the stretcher. The enraged teenager crawled over to a sheet covered body on the road that was next to the other vehicle. Mekkar assumed that this was the individual who caused the smashup so he pulled back part of the covering. He attempted to kick at and rain down blows with his fists upon the now lifeless corpse of the other driver in front of him. In reality, he was incapable of making that person feel some of the full measure pain that he was dishing out. Mekkar was not able to take the correct position and executive his wrath in this physical manner very effectively. Then, the teenager followed up with an extensive barrage of expletives at the deceased person as he was pulled off the prone lifeless body. He had determined in his mind whom was responsible for this tragedy and aimed his spit at the other vehicle and other dead driver. Fury and shock at the same time can normally be lethal combination. He just didn’t care what anyone else thought about him at this juncture. Mekkar was in a mood for revenge and desired to extinguish the pain he was feeling inside. However, the full measure of psychological affects as a result of this incident wouldn’t be evident for some time.

Someone in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital, pointed out to Mekkar that lying down across the back bench seat probably saved him from being another deceased statistic. But, this news was no consolation to him right now. Other details of the incident came out not long after evidence was gathered from witness statements and physical calculations of how it happened. However, there was nothing to be done to change the outcome which was already obvious. After the shock effect and medical remedies wore off, the nagging reality of his situation of losing both parents as a teenager hit him harder than any punch to his gut or noggin on the ice. He wondered why he was the only one to survive the accident? Why didn’t he join his parents into the next life?

Many questions ran through Mekkar’s mind such as, “Why did my mama and papa leave me?” and “Why where they now taken away from me?” Mekkar was clueless as to their new location and realm or what form his parents now possessed. The teen had little adult understanding of what that all entailed and hoped the wise elder Aslak back home might fill him in. He became overwhelmed by these types of feelings for some time. He realized that he was also helpless to change the sequence or effects of this series of events.

Mekkar’s temperament became much shorter and fiery when remembering back and the thoughts about the crash continued to creep into his mind. He did his best to try to forget the whole incident to speed up the healing and recovery process. Unfortunately, the now missing gap in his life was too much for him to not notice. The constant physical reminder from his injured legs made him aware as well.

No matter what Mekkar still had to resume his life without two gigantic influences upon him and he wasn’t even out of high school yet. The realization at times hit him like a brick wall. His parents were now gone together forever. It was a permanent journey into the great beyond, an extended unknown realm of the dead. The young man attempted to perceive what his parents would have wanted him to do, that is, continue on with his life.

Putting the tragedy out of his mind was a much more difficult task. What helped him was statements from both of his parents such as, “You can only change and control what is within your capability and desire to do so.” Another related comment was “There are some other things that are beyond you.” Of course, it was not so easy for a traumatized teenager to just forget what he witnessed. Plus, the physical injuries he sustained would force him to relive much of the details, in his mind, for quite some time.

Mekkar was still a young developing man trying to find his way in life, but he was still far from being fully grown up yet. This is despite the fact that teenagers think they know everything with little life experience to back up their perceptions. Another factor was his own native culture considered Mekkar, for all intensive purposes, as an adult already for a year when he was only seventeen. After the shock of the accident had truly worn off the reality of the situation was extremely painful. Later, other deeply hidden effects would manifest themselves later on. For awhile, it got much worse before it got better. Outward fits of rage, anger, loneliness, and disbelief exhibited themselves far worse than he ever anticipated. Disastrously, Henrik and Sirga’s untimely deaths affected the youngest and least mature of the three sons, Niillas, most of all.

The incident adversely drove Niillas to exhibit deep character flaws such as he started to steal when away from the area. This was due to punishment of body part removal, such as loss of a hand, if he was ever caught stealing at home. The rules in place had been in place for a very long time. Everyone drank alcohol in large quantities so that was a normal occurrence. The after effects started a chain reaction in the youngest son’s spiral downward. Drug abuse habits, such as snorting great amounts of cocaine up his nose, began. This, in turn, adversely resulted in a counterweight to Niillas’ great physical and sports talents. It hurt Niillas in regard to better future career opportunities and prospects for him. The result was lack of an increased fortune making ability after the playing days were over. Mekkar’s counsel regarding these matters was rejected outright and had no effect on his youngest sibling.

Other thoughts would flood Mekkar’s head and there was always a sliver of hope that his mama and papa would let him know how they were doing. Maybe they could help and guide him from the other side? Mekkar continually asked himself these hard questions. The problem there was no definite answers or indicators of their awareness.

The young man subsequently attempted to cope the best he could by trying to focus on the earlier relaxing portion of the journey before they had rented the car. Mekkar still needed his full energy for other tasks at hand such as a forced adaptation upon his life. This included the long process of rehabilitation in the repairing of his own body. He was wondering if he would be able to play sports anymore at a relatively high level or even resume his just beginning future pro hockey career. There were whispers, and he heard about them too. The scuttlebutt was that Mekkar might never regain any of his previous athletic skills and abilities due to the accident. Some scenarios had Mekkar never returning at all as a player in any sport. Yet, Mekkar once again survived and would overcome. It just took awhile longer than he hoped.

As a result of broken bones in his legs suffered from the auto accident in Europe that also took both of Mekkar’s parent’s lives, his senior year sports season participation was curtailed. He didn’t make it back until the latter part of the football season. A few of the naysayers were shocked that he was able to compete in fall athletics. They attributed it all due to his young quick recovery powers. His team duties were only two defensive and limited special teams plays. Even then Mekkar was still only about 75% of full capacity.

On one those defensive plays, in a road game, Mekkar barreled in on a blitz from his cornerback position on the line of scrimmage. He sacked the heralded opposition prep quarterback from the blindside. The walloping force of the hit from behind caused the signal caller to fumble the football and Mekkar pounced on it for the turnover for his side. This led to the winning score in a close victory for his squad. That was the highlight of the fall gridiron season for Mekkar. The result of hard work of putting in enormous amount of overtime during the rehabilitation recovery process paid off for Mekkar. This was after he would show up to class for awhile in a wheelchair with casts on both legs. His friends colored them with artwork and covered them with signage. At times, the young man pushed too hard and actually delayed part of his recovery timeline. His hard driving desire was to get back before the football season was over, that in which he succeeded. This meant almost no practice time for him, so he had to rely on natural athletic instincts he already possessed. Mekkar had to stay away from skating, hockey, or any physically related activities for a long time to get ready. It was killing him inside to not be able to play any games. The mental toll of inactivity was even more difficult for him to deal with.

These factors drove him from deep within and he has always possessed an extreme mentality to win anyway, in everything he does. Obstacles must be defeated and barriers must be knocked down which is part of his element overcoming, warrior personality. It was definitely his imbedded cultural Arctic background that gave him the view that most circumstances exist as part of a life and death struggle. The same scenario as his birth. The goal is to be able to regain everything at the same level as before and then improve upon that. Mekkar sees it as about the resolves stemming from one’s will to defeat what is happening outwardly in an individual’s circumstances. While at the same time, fight against being totally crushed inwardly. He knows it is easier to sometimes throw up one’s hands and give up because it is the part of the path of least resistance. But, that is not Mekkar’s way and his very nature is fight back with all that he has at his disposal in every realm. His brother, Alf, termed it as stubbornness and he is partially correct.

It was fortunate for him that his overall physical makeup and health constitution was such that it gave Mekkar an extra ordinary healing and injury restoration ability. Maybe there was a parallel between being partially named after a shaman and self-healing capability after all.

Another helpful tool in Mekkar’s body arsenal was that his physical scars were less evident in his younger years. Large markings from various cuts, slices, wounds, and surgeries have seemed to shrink and be less noticeable on his body, even to him, as opposed to many others who had incurred similar injuries. He figured later on that it might be possibly being a guinea pig in the initial stages of development of the new liquid stitching breakthrough that was being tested. Having a good amount of hair on parts of his body also aided in covering some of the skin defects. Mekkar hated it at the time because it seemed to him that the process was longer. The long repeated trips for repairs were exhausting. Mekkar believes that the skin condition that affects him now, due to other health issues, has contributed even more to hiding the numerous flaws.   

Unknown to him at the time, he did return to those aspects of his life earlier than anticipated by all. However, the long term effect was his athletic career was shortened. Before the end of his playing days, Mekkar seemed to be frequently hampered by an ever increasing list of ailments and injuries. Many years later his physical well-being is very affected by the compounded injuries suffered and diminishes his quality of life. His mind does question whether the sacrifices were worth the risk involved and very low financial rewards in comparison than the amount today’s athletes receive. Mekkar doesn’t blame anyone but himself. He feels that he could have been wiser and less reckless with his body. He says it was a product of youth and lack of experience in life. Mekkar attributes this to a belief that when you are young you feel indestructible. That view takes a position that neglects consideration of short or long term consequences. Mekkar knew the liability risks and chose to take that path anyway. It was something Mekkar was convinced he had some control over.

Even though Mekkar would be the only person in either vehicle to survive the accident, this incident still haunts him to this day. He still has issues about being in the back seat of motor vehicles due to this traumatic event. Due to the accident Mekkar will still refuse to get into a vehicle he deems as too small or unsafe. If he has to sit in the back seats there has to be a door next to him. He is always looking for a way of escape just in case. Otherwise, he begins to panic and other people who know him wonder why. Most of the time he doesn’t bother to explain the reasons because he is trying forget. The whole idea is to shove those bad memories back deep into his sub-consciousness where they belong. Mekkar would prefer to walk instead or will look to accept another ride that meets his safety and exit access criteria.

The young man’s life changed forever and toughened his personal resolve as a result of great challenges due to this occurrence. The event eventually fostered traits of more self-reliance and a greater distrust of others, especially of authority figures. However, due to his parents’ early, unscheduled departure from this life they will be forever immortalized in Mekkar’s mind.