Remember the good old days when you would think, “I’m going to be just like my mom/dad when I grow up,” to the “I will NEVER be like my parents stage.”
Can you remember when you were that young? I can. The boy you were sure you were going to marry someday? Scribbling your name with his last name, naming your children (one each, boy first to protect his baby sister). That first REAL love you swore you would die for. Life was going to be perfect.
Wedding, first house-warming, hosting your first grown up dinner party, baby showers, first official family pictures, etc.
I thought about all those things as I was driving home from Pueblo yesterday. It took me a minute to realize how shaken I actually was. Then I realized there were many things I’ve experienced that I never imagined I would.
I never imagined I would be married, divorced with two children and move back home before I was 23.
I never imagined I’d watch my mother writhing in pain from her first chemo treatment, begging for help to make it stop. I never shaved anyone’s head before, until my mom’s, because she got tired of shedding. I cried the whole time.
I have never seen my father look so helpless and defeated than the night my mother died.
I never thought that someday I would be picking out an urn for my mother.
I never, ever, expected or imagined my dad married to anyone else but my mother, but he’s happily remarried to Lisa.
Reality check: They both fulfilled their vows completely with their first marriages. Two major ones married people promise, but for some I don’t think give a really honest thought as to what that means.
In sickness and in health, and until death do us part.
Both lost their first spouses, their best friends, the love they would die for, to cancer. I don’t know the details of Lisa’s journey and it’s not my story to tell. I can say, from my perspective, my dad did everything he ever promised my mother. He was, quite literally, by her side until death separated them.
Why am I telling you this? Because I had my own reality check and it was scary.
Hubs and I have our ups and downs, joke about whether we’ll stay together after our youngest graduates, get into routine that we forget that we used to like cuddling and holding hands and such. I take very good care of my Hubs, albeit grudgingly at times. It’s my job to know him, spoil him and love him, even when I can’t stand his annoying and obnoxious ways, I will still wash his feet. (Yes, I wash my husband’s feet…not daily, but I do give him a pedicure once a month or so.)
Boring, mundane, no spark or passion. Just familiarity and day dreaming about what-if’s.
So we went to Pueblo to visit Hub’s brother Dale in the hospital. Took Ethan to eat, walked around the mall, and decided to take silly pictures in one of those photo booths.
Ethan, excited to grab the pictures first, yanks the curtain open and jumps out. Hubs and I both laughing and then I turn to look at him.
Just like that, I was holding the full weight of my husband as he was trying to breathe. He looked like my children when they cry so hard there’s no sound and you blow in their face. I actually tried that. No response other than turning red.
“Oh shit…this is not happening.”
I get him back on the bench. His body is trying so hard to breathe, but nothing is happening. He’s like a fish out of water and turning purple. His eyes seem like they’re going to burst through his eyelids though they’re tightly shut.
“Shit…this is NOT happening!”
Okay. His inhaler won’t work, if he’s not breathing. I glance at Ethan staring at us. I need to breathe, no one is around the booth and I don’t have a cell phone.
My whole world just shrank to this photo booth. Ethan is watching his two superheros. Focus, damn it.
Shaking Hubs and calling his name, nothing. I punch his shoulder he had surgery on, nothing. He’s not unconcious, but he’s not able to do anything. I slap him, calling his name, nothing.
“Sweet Jesus…take a breath or pass out!”
He’s purple now, but not unconcious. Is mouth to mouth possible during an asthma attack?
“SHIT. This is happening.”
His body goes limp and he stops struggling for air. He’s so purple.
“Take a breath. PLEASE take a breath…”
“Oh God – Ethan…move!”
I’m throwing him on the ground and starting mouth to mouth if he doesn’t start to…
I shove his inhaler in his face for his next breath.
Five minutes. That’s how long it was from the last picture, to the puff on his inhaler. It was a long ride home to take him to AVRMC. He and Ethan slept most of the way. I drove and silently cried. Thought of all the things before and it hit me very hard. I’m his person. The in case old emergency person.
When you watched “The Notebook” did you think it was a wonderful love story, or did you contemplate the reality that love isn’t always beautiful? It’s scary, uncertain, messy, painful and rare.
I do hope I grow up to be like my dad. He loved my mom when it was fun, long-distance, toxic, playful, routine and uncertain. He especially loved her when they received their reality check and it was certian the end was near.
I’m not perfect, I’m not always kind. I do try.
Remember to tell someone you love him or her and do it often. It’s not always up to you how your love story ends.