Cycle of Life | Meri's Operation | Joanne's
Cancer | Love Story |
in Newsday's "Kid Talk"
It was a bitter cold January morning when the knock on my door and my mother's frantic cries jarred me. "Ambulance call, Eugene. Wake up!"
I had been staying with my mother because our father, Joseph J. Jones, had passed away only a few days earlier.
My younger sister, Joanne, was more than eight months pregnant but still weeks from her due date when the knock came. I jumped to my feet, dressed and took off. My brother-in-law, Phillip Prevete, was en route to his job in the city.
I arrived at Joanne's house within minutes. "Where are you?" I yelled from the empty kitchen. "I'm in here you knucklehead," I heard from the living room. I had run right by her in my excitement.
The contractions came quickly and she struggled to bark directions. "Get Genn," her 15-month-old daughter Genevieve, "and bring her next door to Laura's." When I returned, Joanne was writhing in agony. But still the commands came -- call this one, call that one, get her bag.
We arrived at St. Charles Hospital at 6:35 a.m. A clerk began filling out admission forms. I relayed a barrage of questions and answers. Finally, Joanne screamed, "I'm gonna have the baby right here!"
Within seconds, a doctor arrived with a gurney and rushed her to the delivery room and me to the gowning room.
"I can't believe I'm here with my brother," Joanne exclaimed.
"Brother?" the doctor replied. "I thought this was the father."
I held Joanne's head as she pushed, "You're doing great," the doctor assured her, "I can see the top of the head." I dropped Joanne's head to see her new baby, now slowly emerging. "Wow. This is amazing. Joanne, this is so cool. I wish you could see this."
"I can't believe I'm here with my brother," she bemoaned again, and we all roared with laughter.
On January 5, 1994, at 7:13 a.m., only 23 minutes after we had entered the room, Joseph was born. He was named after his grandfather, a great man he will never meet but will always be a part of.
The cycle of life continues.