Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How Many Cups Died For This?

Dear John,
 
It's January 15th. On this day last year you got up and went to work, ended up in the hospital, and never came home again. Except for 36 miserable hours when we came home from Indy, and you ended up in Goshen with pneumonia. Jethro was at the vet then, so he never saw you except in ICU right before you died.
 
It was so nice of you to call me yourself - it was less scary for you to tell me you'd passed out at work than to have somebody else do it. And as much as you scared everybody there, I doubt that anybody was in any fit state to do it, anyway. It must have been awful for them, coming around the corner into the back and finding you on the floor. The amazing thing is that, in a room of tile and hard surfaces, you landed right on a box of cups and didn't even get a bruise. I never did hear how the cups fared.
 
We knew you had a right bundle branch block and a left anterior hemiblock, so hearing that you passed out wasn't shocking. We figured you'd temporarily completed the block and needed a permanent pacemaker, and we were right. But all the testing they did in Indy showed that the radiation damage was much more extensive than we knew, and everything unraveled at one time.
 
I've always appreciated the way you handled medical crises, yours or mine. You were so matter-of-fact about things. You pretty well knew, even before marrying a critical care nurse, that all life hangs on a thread and anything can happen to anybody at any time. You never wondered why things happened to you - you didn't consider yourself somehow exempt.
 
But I know, even before the lung cancer, that you were tired of it - it was always one thing after another. And after having myocarditis, you never felt the same. And I'm so, so glad that you're healed and well now, without the burden of a physical body. For me, I'm glad to know that my turn will come someday. I cry for myself because it's hard to be without you for a while, but I've never cried for you. I'm happy for you.
 
That's a lot of mulling over a date in January. (Brace yourself when we get to April.) You've always been nice about my mullings. A year ago I had half a day of normal life. And that was my last. And I can hear you pointing out that I'm not normal enough to have - or, quite possibly, recognize - normal. And I can see the smile that you'd say it with. And I love it. Enjoy your new normal while I wait for mine!
 
Love you so much,
Joan.

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