YOU DIED, FOREVER
I’m dedicating this blog to my husband, John. On August 18th you’ll have passed over, died, or whatever you refer to as losing someone who you loved more than yourself. I Would have done anything, legal or illegal for you. I trusted you with not just my life but our children’s lives. And our grandchildren’s lives. That day when you told me you had a terrible stomachache, I should have taken that more seriously. But it was a Wednesday. And every Wednesday we had pasta and meatballs. I mean every Wednesday. That’s a fact. Lol. Yet you insisted that I not cancel my dinner plans with my friend. As long as I have your pasta and meatballs cooked, and ready to eat you were good to go. It’s weird that as I was leaving the restaurant to come home I walked past an alleyway and a cool breeze came through me. Yes, through me. I shrugged it off as an opportunity to feel and enjoy a cool breeze during the “Dog Days of August.” Not knowing what I was about to walk into as I drove home.
As I came into the house, I found it odd that the dogs were laying at the bottom of the stairs when I walked in; so I let them outside. I never gave it a second thought as I called up to you to let you know I was home. You were painting the hallway before you went back to work. I called up to you several times and there was no answer and I couldn’t hear any movement. “That’s odd,” I thought. I ran up the steps to share with you some of my evening’s events. The very stairs that I had gone up a million times to wake you for work, to put our children to bed, to help one of our sons get ready for school, or make sure they had all their equipment on for football practice. Or to see them all dressed up to go to prom or their final dress in their tux before their weddings. At the time, none of that entered my mind as I bolted up the steps to see you.
As I turned the corner and saw you lying there, I stupidly thought you fell asleep, because you were still holding the paint roller in your hand. But then as I got closer a smell that I will never forget hit me. It was so intense it stopped me in my tracks. Then I saw the blood. I knew something was wrong. I ran over to your body and tried to wake you. But I kept slipping on the plastic on the floor and was trying not to touch the blood that was coming out of your ears and mouth. “Oh no, no, no.” In an instant, the logical part of my brain was saying he’s dead. But the hopeful part of my heart thought you fell or laid down to take a nap. Yeah, I actually thought that. Then as I tried to pick you up, I realized I needed to call 911. Oh God forgive me; I was so mean and unhinged to that young man on the 911 call. He tried to calm me, but the blood kept coming out of you and I couldn’t get my footing. I ran downstairs and opened the front door so the police could come right in. I could hear the dogs barking and howling as if they knew what the final result or outcome of this evening’s event was going to be. I ran back upstairs just in case you woke up. I didn’t want you to be alone or to be afraid. I tried to hold you as I laid down next to you. I was still on the phone when the police arrived. The officer told me to go downstairs and call a neighbor so I wouldn’t be alone. I could hear him starting CPR. It seemed like hours before two ambulances and a swarm of police officers and EMTs were in our home running up and down the stairs. The sounds were faint, but loud all at the same time.
I was sitting at the kitchen table when our neighbor kneeled in front of me to tell me you had died. It was as if someone had punched me in the stomach and I felt a lightning bolt of pain strike my head. From that point on I was in a fog. I could hear people but couldn’t see them very well. I knew I had to call our sons. But I never made the call. I don’t even know who did. But it seemed like many hours before they were all in our home… the home they had grown up in. The home you and I made for them. I thought for sure I was going to be waking up from this horrible nightmare. I remember one of the EMTs brought me over to the sink to wash your blood off my hands. As I watched your blood go down the drain, in slow motion, I thought “oh no.” That was the last of your warmth I would ever again feel near me and around me.
I continued to watch the last of you wash down the drain. In the process, I could hear someone say I was in shock. All the while, I remember thinking what I wanted to say, but couldn’t hear the words coming out of my mouth. I remember them saying they were going to need help to get you down the stairs. I remember hearing a lot of voices but can’t remember exactly what they were saying, as I moved in slow motion to sit back down. I refused to take some kind of pill they wanted to give me. For some reason, I needed to feel everything that was happening. This much I knew. The next hours, there were some of our children’s friends as well as our dear friends here and they all helped to carry your lifeless body down the stairs. I stopped them. You were wrapped in a white cotton garb. I said my final goodbye to you in our home of 30 years. Still not believing that I would never again see you come through the door, feel your strong arms around me ever again, hear your laugh or smell your deodorant. I know now that I still carry all of those things in my heart and hear and smell them from a distance at times.
The next two years, yes years, we’re a fog. I try so hard to recall them. To remember how I got to this place that I’m at right now. I know around two years after you died, a realization of living without you came to be. That charting my own path without you was now going to be up to me and me alone. Yes, alone. I knew you more than half my life. I still love you and feel very married to you in my heart. Some therapists have told me that that’s trauma. But I know it’s still the deep love and understanding that you and I had. We grew together from the moment we committed to see each other at the ages of 17. As we welcomed our first Son at the ages of 17 and 18, we knew the struggle that was before us. But you know what… we did Okay. Well, we did the best we could with what we had. We continued to fall deeper in love with each other, as the phases of our life together changed. Oh, we had our moments and our fair share of disagreements; but always found a common ground. A way to compromise to make it work. No matter what or how bad we fought, neither one of us could imagine living without the other.
As I struggle to get through yet another August 18th and accepting that you are really gone, I walk through that day as if it was happening all over again, but with me as a spectator and not a participant. I will only celebrate your life when you were here with us and not your death. I will continue to see you from the corner of my eye. I feel your strong hands on my shoulders when I hug and hold our grandchildren and feel your tender kiss on my cheek at night as I fall asleep. So, my Love, you are missed and will never be forgotten. You have left me with the best part of you, our sons, and now our grandchildren. So, until we meet again, said simply and truly, I Love You Still.I leave you dear reader with this quote; “An Open Wound Is Where The Light Enters” (Unknown) Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Fearless.