And brought me flowers too!
It’s been one year. 365 days. A full trip around the sun. 8,760 hours ago, I took Jer to the emergency room. Terrified, I checked him in and walked out without him. I didn’t know what would happen next. You know those instances where your life flashed before your eyes, yeah sitting in the parking lot I had one of those.
We had just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary that July and by the end of the month, the whole house had the bug that shall not be named. The rest of us powered through. Can’t hold a super mom down for long and the kids slept it off then ate like starving soldiers returned from battle. But, Jer wouldn’t get better. His breathing labored, fever roller coastered, his strength ebbed. No amount of sun or meds or rest helped.
So, on a bright and sunny Wednesday morning in August, I got the kids off to the first day of school and drove him to the hospital. I’d heard the horror stories about people going in and not coming out. I lived in a constant state of hidden anxiety. I couldn’t show the kids how terrified I was that their dad might not come home. I refused to let anyone see how unbearably sad I was in a room alone struggling to breathe.
Each day I went through the motions. I cooked the meals and cleaned the messes. I did the laundry and shuttled the kids. I visited my hubby covered in masks and gloves. Anxiety and I were walking hand in hand all day so my mask anxiety was simply along for the ride. I soldiered through because, in the words of Thor, “that’s what heroes do.” And then I had to buy milk and I broke.
The weight of everything crashed down on me in a CVS parking lot. I cried out my crushing fear of losing my husband. I cried out my worry for my children possibly losing their dad. I cried out the lingering loneliness dogging my every waking moment. And when I could cry anymore, I prayed. Eyes swollen, nose red and running, I thanked God for the time we’d had together and I prayed for more. More laughs. More hugs. More quiet moments at the end of the day. More chaotic days surrounded by our kids and grandkids.
When people tell you, God doesn’t answer prayers, look them in the eye and boldly tell them how wrong they are. That very day, as I cried my heart out and cried out to God, Jer turned a corner. Three days later I wheeled him out of that hospital and brought him home.
There are times I find myself simply watching him breathe and a distant flash of an oxygen hose will dance across my mind. A sound outside will remind me of the whir of his oxygen machine. I’ll look in the office closet and see the nebulizer and oxygen sensor and my heart will squeeze. Even after a year of him being healthy, I still remember how different things could have been. Those were the longest eight days of my life.
525,600 minutes (plus or minus a few hundred) ago, my world stood still. I cherish every minute I have with him. Even the ones he uses to make me crazy! I am grateful for the love and life and family we share. And today, he’s brought home milk and flowers.