Saturday, April 2, 2011

Death Did Not Become Her

This is the day, the day six years ago she should have died, most do. She should have gone but decided through miracles and sheer will to stay and to continue to be. She was changed, she was hurt, but she continued in my life, in our lives. She continues today to make me better than I was before April 2, 2005.

I don’t go past this day, without remembering, remembering the day, the times, the fears, tears, the outright denial and the ultimate victory. I wonder if that is wrong.

I remember she sat in the blue leather chair our big yellow cat ,Bubba, had used as a scratching post the first day we had it in our house, the scratches leaving small but noticeable scars on the chair to this day. It’s funny what is stuck in your mind’s eye. She sat in the chair holding her head, first with her elbows on her knees, her head held between her two hands, then sitting back with her head leaning back against the chair, moaning.

Her words, “This is the worst headache I have ever had,” a recognizable harbinger of something deadly. If you feel it, if you hear it, the hospital is the only place to go. Don’t wait, don’t be a hero, don’t tough it out, get help quickly or you will pass.

The memories of that day six years ago are clear and omnipresent regardless of the day, but those feelings of fear and chaos are exposed like a raw, naked nerve on this anniversary, April 2. The police, the ambulance, the young red haired doctor with cowboy boots, my complete lack of understanding and feeling of futility, Marty’s confusion, the calls to the children, the hurried shower, the ride to Dallas, the Parkland ER, McDonalds at midnight, the surgery, the realization of the severity, the exhaustion, the love of family, the loneliness, the night, the fear of the unknown, the relief of survival, and ultimately a drug induced sleep.

Matt, Erin, Sarah and I all rejoiced the simple victory of surviving April 2 and moving into April 3. The trauma to that magnificent organ, the brain, was so foreign, so frightening it was impossible to absorb. My ignorance, my denial of the future saved me at the time. If I had understood or could have foreseen the following days, weeks and months I would have been completely washed away by the tidal wave of reality.

I listened to the doctors day after day not completely understanding the miracle that was Marty. It wasn’t until much later that I began to understand how, through the art of medicine and the tenacity of Marty, she had survived against the odds to stay, to be, to live a few more days. It never occurred to me at the time we were living a miracle.

On this day I remember the fear and the pain, but I also recognize the miracle and the magnificence of Marty’s survival. On this day I recall how close we were to losing and celebrate Marty’s victory and recovery. On this day I am thankful for the six more years we have had, on this day, in spite of the frailty of the human body we can do nothing but rejoice at the strength and determination of the human. On this day, in spite of all, Marty still is, and for that I smile.

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