I almost missed it. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe that’s a sign of acceptance. It’s what happens when you move on; it’s what happens when you take down a calendar (http://martytalks.blogspot.com/2010/07/calendar.html).
It’s been nine years, it was nine years two days ago, it was nine years ago since she sat holding her head, since she sat holding her head saying the exact words, “This is the worst headache I’ve ever had.”
It’s been nine years since that way too young red headed emergency room doctor pulled the ER curtain back and apologized as he said Marty was bleeding in her brain and I sat there not understanding and just thinking, “I don’t care, just fix her.”
It’s been nine years since I didn’t understand the implications, since I didn’t know the road to recovery, since I didn’t foresee the pain and loss Marty would have to endure.
It’s been nine years since modern medicine and an amazing surgical team saved Marty’s life and gave us these nine more years.
Nine years ago I sat in the waiting room in Parkland Hospital with my children and their significant others and I couldn’t understand the real life implications of the ruptured aneurysm. I know not knowing the future helped all of us cope that night.
Nine years ago I cried, I sobbed, as they told me Marty had survived surgery but they had to leave part of her skull out. That was the moment I cried for joy and fear because hearing those words finally helped me understand how close death had been, how close death still was.
In those nine years we have grown, we have grown into our new normal, maybe we have even grown into acceptance of our current life. Some days I see it, some days it seems normal, it seems okay, other days, not so much.
In those nine years we have seen numerous doctors, Marty has endured several surgeries and too many invasive infringing medical procedures to count. In those nine years she has been sick and we (I) have matured in how we handle the trips to the hospitals, again, too many to list.
In those nine years we have more than survived.
In those nine years we have met countless loving people who have reached out to Marty and to me. We have grown closer to our entire family as they banded together to support Marty and me. We have seen our children take loving care giving roles for their mother, we have see a family grow stronger in adversity.
In those nine years we have seen a daughter marry and our children procreate and give us grandchildren. We have buried a mother; we have seen friends and our own family struggle with sorrow, death, illness and heart break. We have seen life.
We have found remarkable women who have taken Marty into their heart and cared for her everyday as if she was their own. The disease is catastrophic but we are all better for knowing Marty’s caregivers and the love they show to us and to their own families.
Nine years ago yesterday I woke from a few hours sleep to go find Marty in intensive care recovery at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. She was lying on her back, half of her head shaved with a huge scar and indention on the front left side of her head. The right side still had hair, matted with her blood from the surgery.
She was full of tubes and lines and was surrounded by all manner of electronics beeping and flashing showing she was still with us.
Nine years ago I had no idea what our life would be like for those next few days, weeks and the years. I knew Marty had survived, I knew we would fight for normalcy; I knew there was an awful lot I needed to know.
In nine years Marty and I have both changed, I hope we have grown, I hope we have found some measure of contentment with our lot in life today.
Maybe almost forgetting is a good sign; maybe we are almost at normal.