It had happened. It was a Tuesday. It was 12:35 pm (yes, I looked at the clock, I need to remember the exact time). Some Disney channel show was playing in the background.
I stood up from the chair where I had pretty much been planted for the previous 2 months.
I went over to the door that had been closed for the past few days because I didn’t want people going up and down the hall peeking in the door to see if he was still there.
I walked up the hall as casually as any other day. I looked at the nurse standing at the nurses station and I calmly said, “He’s Not BREATHING”. I turned and I walked back to our room.
They rushed past me into the room. There was no reason to hurry, his struggle was over, he was free. They couldn’t touch him anyway, he had a DNR.
I looked at someone in the room and said “Go get Shawn”. Shawn had been his CNA, who became his friend.He had made me promise that when something happened that he could be there. I wound up holding onto to him because he was crying so hard.
It was silent when it happened. There was not letting of breath, there was no sound. Death eased into the room and ushered the him that I knew, away.
As the staff asked me to step out into the hallway so they could attend to him, I made a call.
“I need you”. “Is he getting worse?”. “I need you now”. “Oh!!! I will be right there.” That was the whole conversation. The person on the other end of the phone was my friend, the local funeral director.
The second call I made was to my mom. She asked me if I was okay. I said yes, what else could I say. I was fine, I was standing in the hall way talking on the phone. My heart had been ripped out and lay in the floor in front of me in shards but I was still standing.
My sister came first. My dad was going to get my mom. It was real, it was happening and it was happening to me. You always think it is someone else, until you are that someone else.
He had battled kidney cancer for 18 months. When I say he battled it, he fought like a trooper, in his words “just to stay with me”.
I stayed until his earthly house left the building The thing I noticed how quickly he started getting cold. Once his spirit left his body, it happened fast.
I gathered what I would need at that moment and left room 5 for the last time.
As I walked out of the building, I noticed what a beautiful day it was. Sunny with just a breeze stirring.
I walked toward my car and my mom said “Let your daddy drive you home”. I looked at her as straight as I could and said “I Will Drive Myself”.
I drove myself and my mom to my house. I walked in the door and I picked up my little dog and I cried. I was where I would be safe to cry. Nobody was here to see how I would react. I could finally feel.
I went to let all our friends know that it had happened. Not being able to think of anything else to say I simply typed “It is Finished”. Someone had already shared it with the world, I noticed later that the first sharing of the news was not from me, it was from someone else.
The next few days were a blur. I do remember the first person to my house was my best friend and her daughter. I remember our little dog sniffy the shoes of every man who came into the house and walking away because it was not him. I remember how many people came to pay their respects. I remember my middle great niece straightening his tie during the viewing.
I tucked him in for the last time as they closed the casket at the funeral home. My friend called me up and said I know you have tucked him in many times. I want you to help me do it one last time. It was the final thing I could do for him. I did it through tear filled eyes but I am glad now that I did do it.
In that moment chapter 2 of my life began.
Well, here I am five years later. If anyone would have told me what I would have done in the past five years, I would have laughed in their face. All I wanted to do was die. I even had a plan on how it would happen. Luckily, the right person at the right second, said the right thing. It was eight words that changed my life.
I am not going to say it has been easy. It hasn’t.
I went from living with my parents, to living with him, to at the age of 43 living by myself for the first time.
I had to figure out how to navigate the waters again on my own. Without the man, I planned on spending more years with that what I got, beside me.
I learned (and am still learning) who I am and what I want out of my life.
I have fallen in love with an amazing man who understands that that part of my life did happen and I will speak of it from time to time. He has been patient, loving and kind. He makes me laugh. He encourages me to be the best I can be. He is smart, funny, creative and handsome. He allows me to be the incredible mess that I am and still comes back for more. He is one of those once in a lifetime people.
Me, the person whose plan A was to sit on the side of the road and die, am in love.
I have taken on more challenges and made more changes than I ever thought I would or could. I have chased waterfalls and lightening with camera in hand. I am starting two businesses. I changed careers.
I have amazing people in my life, I would be lost without the friends I have been blessed to have in my life. My best friend has been an anchor calling me every day since that fateful day and I am living my life.
Tonight, I even went out with some of those friends. It was a very enjoyable evening. There was love, laughter and life. It was great.
So tomorrow, I will not be sitting around thinking about the past. I will be celebrating life. I will be thankful that his spirit was freed from a very sick body and he is free from those things which kept him earthbound.
I will wake up tomorrow and be thankful that I have not only gotten to love once but twice in my life. I will spend the day exploring with my new love.
I guess if I could ask one question, it would be if he is proud of the woman I have grown into. I think I know the answer….he would be and he would be happy that I have lived a life I enjoy and have loved again.
If I could tell him one thing that I want him to know, that would be that the caterpillar finally sees the butterfly that he saw and that I am sorry I didn’t see it before.
I think he is smiling on me, nah, I know he is.