by: Marty Chrisman
Luke slept for over 36 hours before finally opening his eyes. He was alone in the room he shared with Bo and as his mind cleared, the pain returned and ripped his heart in two. Sierra was gone and this time he would never see her again. Rolling over onto his side, he closed his eyes to hold back the tears and let himself fall back into the darkness where he wouldn’t have to deal with anything for awhile.
When 48 hours had passed without Luke walking up, Jesse got concerned and sent Bo to check on his oldest cousin. Bo approached Luke’s bed and gently reached out to shake his shoulder. “Luke…..hey Luke…” he said quietly. Luke’s only response was a groan as he buried his face in his pillow and moved away from Bo’s touch. “Luke, come on….Uncle Jesse thinks you should get up for awhile…” Bo said, gently shaking Luke’s shoulder again.
“Leave me alone….” Luke’s muffled voice growled as he swatted at Bo’s hand.
Bo sighed and left the room to go back downstairs and tell Uncle Jesse that Luke wouldn’t get up. A few minutes later, Jesse went into the bedroom. Crossing to his nephew’s bed, he reached down and firmly shook Luke’s shoulder “Come on, son…” he said in a firm but gentle voice “You need to get up now…..”
Luke rolled over onto his back and opened his eyes glaring at his Uncle with sapphire blue eyes that were blazing with anger. Jesse took a step back, startled by the rage in those eyes. People responded differently to the death of a loved one and obviously Luke had decided to respond to Sierra’s death with anger. And that concerned Jesse because he knew that beneath the anger was the pain and the tears and that sooner or later, Luke would have to feel those emotions too. But as long as he let the anger rule his emotions, then the pain would just continue to fester inside of him and that wasn’t good.
“Luke, I want you to get up now…..take a shower and change…then come on down for supper.” Jesse told him. He turned and left the room. He didn’t know if Luke would obey him or not but he had to do something to get Luke to reconnect with the rest of the family.
As the door closed behind his Uncle, Luke threw his arm up over his eyes and continued to lie there on his bed. He didn’t want to get up. He didn’t want to do anything. When Sierra left this earth, she took with her his heart and his soul leaving nothing behind except a hollow shell of a man with nothing left to live for. He felt empty inside, empty and cold. His mind refused to accept the inevitable, as long as he stayed asleep, she was still alive and with him in his dreams. And that’s where he wanted to be…with her.
When Luke didn’t come down for supper, Jesse had Bo fix a plate and take it up to him. He came back down stairs and told Jesse that Luke seemed to be asleep again. Later, when he went to bed, Bo noticed that Luke’s plate still sat on the nightstand untouched. Bo was worried too. He’d never seen Luke like this before and he didn’t know how to help him. He was shutting them all out at a time when he needed his family the most.
Two more days passed without Luke coming out of his room. Every time Bo or Jesse went in to check on him, he seemed to be asleep or faking it, they could never be quite sure which. If they coaxed him enough, he might open his eyes but he refused to talk to them and they were all getting more and more worried about him as each day passed. Finally, Jesse got concerned enough to call Doc Applebee.
Doc came out to the house and went upstairs to the bedroom shared by the boys. He wasn’t in the room very long. Jesse, Bo and Daisy were all gathered in the kitchen. They looked at Doc anxiously as he came back down the stairs and joined them in the kitchen.
“Physically, there’s nothing I can do for Luke.” Doc told them sadly “Physically he’s fine. Mentally….he’s locked away somewhere where he can’t feel the pain and unless he lets himself feel that pain and starts dealing with it….you may not have any choice but to put him somewhere where he can get some help.”
“You mean like a hospital?” Jesse said shocked at the idea of being forced to put Luke somewhere against his will.
“If you don’t and he continues to refuse to respond….you could lose him for good.”
“Thank you, doc…” Jesse said slumping down on one of the kitchen chairs. He had never imagined anything like this happening to Luke. Luke had always been the strong one, the one who protected everyone else and took care of them. The one that Jesse had always depended on the most. Even after he came back from Viet Nam, he had never gotten like this. Until now, Jesse had never realized just how deeply Luke had loved Sierra. Although he hated to, Jesse knew he could only give Luke a few more days and if he hadn’t started to come around by then, he knew he’d have no choice but to take more drastic measures to save his nephew from himself.
The decision of what to do about Luke if he didn’t start responding in some way soon was taken out of Jesse’s hands two later when Luke disappeared. Daisy had gone to work and Bo and Jesse had been working in the field. When they returned to the house for lunch, Bo had automatically gone to their room to check on Luke and found him gone. Bo and Jesse had searched the house and the property to avail. Luke was nowhere to be found.