The magnitude of what happened didn’t hit me until I was on my way home. The two lane road was dark except for my head lights and an occasional street light. A song played on the radio but seemed to blend from one to the other. I had done this before on other occasions but somehow this experience resonated much differently. As I walked the halls of the hospital, the white cotton cord cutting into my hand from the weight of his belongings, I knew there was a difference. My cane in one hand and his clothes in the other I was at a loss as to how to get back to the emergency room and my car. When he was wheeled to his room I tried to memorize each turn and every elevator we had taken but mid way through my journey back I was lost. Was this the right elevator or was it the one further up? Thankfully an orderly took pity on me and showed me the way out of the maze.
It was after eleven, in fact it was closer to midnight and I was tired. Not just from the day’s events but from the trip and the fact that I hadn’t recouped my sleep. As I entered the ER waiting area I took the piece of paper with the hospital number on it and wrapped it around the cord protecting my hand for the rest of the journey. My tired legs would go down the stairs on my way to the parking lot. They now seemed much steeper then when I climbed them earlier. The fountain in the adjacent pond offered peace outside of all the noise in the hospital.
Sitting in my car I dialed a friend to at least leave a message about what was going on. I wanted a friend at that moment. Someone to tell me, John would be all right. Looking back I know that is why I called at the time I just wanted to hear a friendly voice. Unfortunately, I got her voice mail. So I started my journey down the dark and winding road. When I stopped for a red light, I looked down at my left hand resting on the steering wheel. There in the orange cast of the dim street light was his wedding ring right next to mine. Looking at the passenger seat I saw the bag of his belongings. The light changed green and I felt the silver flex band of his watch around my wrist.
Driving further into the darkness the reality that one day I might leave the hospital without him struck me. That one day instead of bringing him home I would just be bring his possessions. I told him when we first got together that I didn’t care how much time we had. I said; I would rather love him for the time we have. I even used the old saying that it is better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all. That still holds true to this day. What I have with him many people aren’t so lucky to find. He can make me laugh at the silliest things and even make me see things in a different way than I thought possible. I do believe he is my soul mate as we usually know what the other is thinking before we say it.
So this experience has reminded me of just how lucky I am. We love each other unconditionally and now more than ever I know that each day with him is a gift to be cherished.
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