My Nephew Orlando
by Ronald Singer
(Window Rock, AZ)
My name is Ronald Singer, Fire Captain with a fire department. It's hard to go over what had happened over and over. But I miss my nephew so much it hurts, I keep hearing everyone say its going to be ok, he is happy and all this stuff.. I know this, I do, but I cant get over how I feel..Orlando Singer was like a little brother to me, I raised and grew up with him since he was born in 1987. His parents relationship was unstable and eventually broke up, and left him with no one to turn to but my mother, sister and I. I have a lot of memories of him when he was growing up, and I will cherish them all. Its funny as I grew up with him people use to say why you dress him up like you, I laugh and say well he is my son.. He was 24 years old when he left, he had been living in Tempe, AZ with his high school girlfriend after he graduated. He was very active in basketball, always loved to see his nephews and nieces, my sisters children. He loved being around children and they loved being with him. He would say he could not wait to see his lil brothers, sisters, nephew and nieces. He'd play with them and took them out to eat or hung out watching tv. I know they miss him a lot, I hear it. He was grandma's favorite, he loved his grandmother and helped her anyway he could. He never got mad to the point he had a grudge on anyone, he forgave people and brought them back into his heart. Even his father and mother, no matter what had happened, he always wanted to be with them still. Thats how I remember him, always willing to help and comfort people.
My story and grief and guilt I have is the last night and day I spent with him. I was planning on attending an EMT Refresher course in Tempe on March 2, 2011. I stayed at his apartment the night before. I arrived late around 2100 hours, he was asleep but woke up and wanted to be awake while I was there, and that is how he was. Anyway we went out to eat, his girlfriend was too tired so we left. As we ate we shared a lot of memories and stories about how and what happened in the past, where we are and where we are going. Talked about the family, my family and how he missed seeing my children. We left and we went to a Wal-Mart to get stuff for his cold, he had been struggling with a cold and I wanted to help and got him stuff for it, I got him a game he wanted and said we'll play it when I get out of my class the next day. We spent the night just talking about family, friends, Notre Dame football and how the Denver Broncos are going to be this year. It was late and we crashed out.
At around 0600 I heard his girlfriend wake up and got ready for work, then I heard my nephew up to helping her. At around 0700 hours my nephew said uncle you going to your training? I said what time is it, he said it 7am. So I said ok give me a few minutes, so a fell asleep and woke up suddenly and checked my watch on the table it said 0725 hours. I walked to the restroom and saw him lying on the bed and called his name, I kept calling his name and no answer. So I went to him and rolled him over to find his face was blue, I f#ckin freaked out, and thought no no no no no. I checked for a pulse and found none and no breathing, I immediately started CPR and dialed 911, but my dang cell phone took forever to start up until finally it did and I told the dispatcher what was going on, and he helped me. But I did not know the exact address of my nephew apt. So I told him what street I was near, and he said look for an address, I found one and he immediately dispatched fire. At the same time I kept yelling out his name and kept saying breathe orlando, breathe. Come on orlando breathe, wake up orlando, wake up. He was too big for me to put him on the floor, so I kept doing CPR on the bed. Dispatcher said they are near and I heard the sirens, I said they are passing, he said go out and wave them down. I didn't want to stop CPR, but had to. So i ran out and yelled and waved them down. They arrived and continued, a police lady arrived and asked questions that I didn't know about and could not think, I felt I was in a very bad dream that I should wake up now. I kept telling myself that. As I looked as they worked on my nephew, they said they got a pulse, but only for a short time and they continued CPR again. For that brief moment, I thought and thanked God, I kept saying thank you God, thank you God. But it was short. They than transported him to the local hospital and I had to stay there until detectives arrived. All this time I kept asking myself how do I tell all my family, what do i say and how do I say it. I called my wife and told her, she was shocked and cried. It was so unbearable to be there alone with no one to help or comfort me. I couldn't go to the hospital because I had to wait for the detectives. My wife had called her sister, and she came over and helped me. The other people that helped me were the crisis intervention team and police ladies, they were there to support me, and I must say I commend them for all they had done. Without them I dont know what I might have done. They were truly professional and courteous. They were there from the beginning to the end when I left the hospital. They said my sister in law could stay until the detectives arrived. In the meantime the crisis team took me to the hospital. There they were still working on my nephew until later the doctor pulled me to the side and said they had been working on him for over 40 minutes and did not look good and they had to stop because his heart stopped fighting. And it being that long the chances of him being the same are slim to nothing. So I said ok and understood. I early called his mother who was in town for training too and she was there. The emotions were high and extremely sad. Words cannot describe the feeling I went through. I then had to call the rest of my family, even his father. I guess sometime then I blacked out and ended up being in the er room being treated as well.
Since then I have had a feeling of guilt, anger, sadness, feeling I should've stayed up with him, done more, lonely, tired, scared, and so on. I feel lost, empty and depressed. I miss him so much, no one can understand what I went through, I wish Orlando could just say uncle i'm ok, dont be this way anymore. You are ok, but I keep hearing his voice saying he is scared and lonely, I hear his childhood voice. I hear him crying for me as I lay asleep while he was suffocating on his bed. I have more but I can't talk about it more, thank you.