I know. I know. I said I was not going to write anything today. And, here I am. But, I have some thoughts that I want to share. Plus, writing brings me comfort. And, if you find this a tad “schmaltzy” (is that a word…), thank you in advance for bearing with me.
Three years ago today, my husband, Steve Orlandella, lay in the hospital with tubes and machines running full-time. He had been that way for most of August, going in and out of consciousness. During that time, medicine controlled double pneumonia. Yet, his lungs would not work. Neither would his heart. He remained in ICU around-the-clock. Toward the end of August, the doctors suggested performing a tracheotomy to help him survive. I assumed he would survive. So, when they transported him to Hopital L’Archet to perform that procedure, I stood by, waiting for news.
On the morning of August 31, 2016, (a Wednesday, around 9:00 a.m.) my cell phone rang. It was a nurse, calling from the hospital. Could I come to the hospital at 2:00 p.m? The doctors wanted to talk to me. I assumed they were calling about the procedure. At 2:00 p.m., I met with four doctors, who were facing me in a semi-circle. The oldest one spoke. At first, I waited for him to say what I thought he would say. He did not say it. Instead, he began describing Steve’s heart to me, showing me what it was doing and not doing. They could not perform the tracheotomy. He would not survive that procedure. In fact, he would not survive.
After that, I don’t remember much of what any of them said. It was a lot of medical jargon. I just knew I was being told that Steve would die that afternoon. They asked me if I wanted to spend a couple of hours with him before they disconnected the machines. I said yes. I went into his room. Just then, one of the machines tried to start his heart with a jolt. When I looked at him, I knew. He was not there.
Believe me, each year since then has been rough. Last year, I flew with his ashes to Boston for burial. And, today, I went on a long walk, remembering. I walked by places that we went together. Every (most every) Sunday. And, it was bittersweet. I was happy my legs felt strong and sad that my life with Steve is over. Well, not really. He will always be a part of me. “Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” ~ Rumi
And, of course, I made a movie of the day. Click here on this live link. Hopefully, it will work for you. It should. I bought this new hat and some new sunglasses today. This sun is intense! Right now, it is 86 outside. “Feels like 89”.