Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life... it changed forever

No chance of coming home they said and yet, here it was, Saturday, March 1st, 2006. Two months almost to the day that she had entered the hospital again. As I walked past the nurses station, as I had thousands of times, for 23 years, Sheila's doctor stopped me. She asked if we were set up for Sheila at home. I was confused but said of course we were always ready for her. She told me that I had learned the Trache and that if I wished, Sheila could come home. Something inside of me wanted to ask why it all changed so suddenly but something deeper would not allow me too. She always made miraculous recoveries so why not another one. She was excited and we packed her things and headed for home.
Once home and settled, calls were made and by Monday she was set up with home nurses and all the machinery needed to keep her as comfortable as we could. Caring for her, for the first time in 24 years, was a 24/7 team effort. My daughter and I and a dear friend cared for My Sheila and made certain she had all she needed. You might wonder in your mind if the thought that she had been sent home to finish her life at home ever entered my mind. I must honestly say to you that the answer was No! never in 24 years had the thought of her going away entered my head. I found that caring for her now was not the smooth walk we had made part of our lives this time. To simply go to the doctor required 6 oxygen tanks and an hour to get her in our vehicle. Nights were spent sitting up with her, cleaning her Trache every hour so she could breathe easier and sitting beside her all night so i didn't miss her calling for me. We talked of everything and of nothing. We did NOT talk as if she were going to die. It never ever entered my mind.
On the 7th of March, she woke and said something didn't feel right inside. She was taken to the hospital where our family doctor waited. I often wonder if we sometimes fail to notice things on purpose or if our minds are simply to filled with worry to see things that might have told us what we didn't see. Maybe it is a little of both. I watched and held her hand as our Doctor continued to give her more and more morphine. More than perhaps was "normal." She had been our Doctor for 20 years and knew Sheila better than almost anyone. Again, I never questioned because I trusted her completely. Sheila was moved back to the hospital so far away. I stood beside her, waiting for doctors to decide what they might do. I was going out to smoke one and she took my hand and asked me to wait. Here again, they gave her shots to make her sleep for 45 minutes and then she would be awake for 15. At 1a.m., they decided to do emergency surgery. I called my girls to come up, knowing it was over an hour away. I figured the surgery would last at least that long. I kissed my Sheila and told her i would be waiting for her. We said our "I love you's" and I sat in the dark waiting room alone...
One half hour later, i was shocked to see the surgeon come into the room. 24 years does NOT prepare you for anything. When he said "I can not save her this time" I fell to the floor, sobbing. I told him he was wrong. I told him that he must be mistaken. I sobbed like a child and begged him to try. He knelt beside me and took my hand. He said never had he seen such love. My girls arrived shortly after and I told them she only had hours to live. There are no words for those moments in time. We spent the next 3 hours beside her bed, singing softly to her, holding her hand, never once saying she was dieing. I kissed her and she whispered to me, "I don't hurt anymore." At 4:30 a.m. on the 8th of March, 2006, after 24 years of the greatest love a man could ever know, my love went to heaven. The word "forever" changed for all time. Nothing in my life would ever be the same. I would no longer be able to turn and say "remember when we..." Life for me and my girls, for everyone that loved her, would never be the same again.
A love so precious only comes around once in a lifetime. There may be a new love. There may be someone special that comes into your life that you will share with and grow old with. But never will THAT love come around again. Not in this lifetime.
A mind like mine didn't take long to begin working on me. Guilt over things unfinished began to tear at me. Unsure of myself, not certain I had done everything I could have for Sheila, ate at me. I spent days and months and years falling into low after low. The bipolar kicked into full swing and even making little decisions like ordering a meal became nearly impossible. I knew that the disorder had found a place to be and that every guilt, each sin I felt was mine, would take me places no man should go.
Life goes on even with bipolar and touretts. It moves forward even if we wish it would not. Time will not wait for you. We wake one day and see that years have gone by, not hours or days. We realize that our life is going to go on and that we have the choice to follow it or stay behind. My mind still races 1000 miles a minute. Days still happen when to even get out of bed is a huge task. Being near people or in a store is still a scary place but you cling to your "safe place" person and try your best to look like everyone else. Does it work??? You tell me.
Thank you for staying with me as I wrote this part of my life. I have Shared with you what I have shared with no one here before. And I have walked through this fire and came out as My Love did, forever. Alive... God Bless you all, Darrel

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