When heaven reaches down
Life after the loss of your precious Love. This is a subject I know all too well. Sheila and I spent a lifetime in hopsitals. Stricken with Muscular Dystrophy one year into our marriage, she would be in and out of hospitls and wheelchairs for the duration of our 24 years. She was the strongest woman I have ever known and endured terrible pain through out our lifem together. Fifteen times the doctors told me she would not live through the night. Fifteen times, she proved them wrong.
Sometimes, I believe that our love grew as strong as it did because her illness kept us so very involved with one another. Compassion and deep love were the constants of our life. Two beautiful daughters and a life that never knew a dull moment, we learned together how NOT to allow an illness to steal from us the love that was so deeply embedded in our hearts. Times when her illness, often for a year or more, did not allow us to be "intimate" we found ways to assure one another that our love was still strong.
On her last day with me, I again scoffed at the doctors telling me "She might not make it through this surgery." My comment... "You have no idea who you are dealing with. That lady has always "made it." One would certainly think thast after 24 years of seeing her so near to death, that I would have been prepared for her "Not to make it." How very wrong I was. Twenty-five minutes into her surgery, the doctor came into the waiting room. It was 1 a.m. and I had not slept in almost 30 hours. When he said those words, "I am afraid I can do nothing for her, Mr. Day," I fell to the floor, unable to process what he was telling me. Sobbing so hard, I could hardly breathe, he knelt beside me and said, "I am so sorry. never have I seen such a display of love."
I went to the room in CCU, a place she had spent so much time in our life. I had sat at her side while she lay in a coma for 58 days, in that same exact room, just one year before this day. I had held her hand as she lay in a coma for 16 days, only a short 3 months before she went to heaven. Now, I sat beside her, touching her face, holding her hand, afraid to say too much because I did not want her to know she was going to die. Softly, with out pain for possibly the first time in 24 years, my Sheila went to heaven. It was now 4 a.m., and I kiised her lips and stepped away. The pain, greater than any pain I could have ever in my life imagined. Ready for it!?!?!?!?! Not even a little bit.
I wondered what I would do without my love and my best friend to talk to. There were things she and I shared that I could not ever share with another. Stories and topics and life experiences that only she and I had referance to. Who would I laugh with about the silly things we did? How could I tell others about the time we did this or that, when they had no idea what I was taking about. The grief took me down so many frightening roads. I wanted only to have her back with me. I even thought about joining her so we would not have to be apart.
As time went by, the "Time will heal" statement became one that I not only hated to hear but did not believe. I still mourned her and wanted to hold her and tell her it would be o.k. I yearned for her touch and to just hear her voice again. She took with her a life time of living that she and I created. I was so afraid the first time I realized I could not remember what her voice sounded like. How does one forget a voice he/she heard whisper "I Love You" more than half of their life? I took forgetting her voice as forgetting her. I could not ever let that happen.
I don't know if times "heals." I know it softens the pain a little. Sorrow, the deep, unbelievable pain, so constant for so long, does lessen. After 5 years, even as I write this, longing to reach out and touch her cheek still remains in my soul. Does moving on mean you are forgetting? I used to think so. But slowly, with time and love from family and friends, I have come to know that a love so deep and forever, does not get "forgotten." It becomes a place that you visit in your heart and mind privately. You remember the wonderful things you shared, All the mind photos you created and the warm touches you shared. You make that photograph album in your mind and keep it there, to open when you need to smile or laugh. Sometimes, it is there to cry and cleanse your soul.
Today, 5 years and almost 3 months after my Sheila went to heaven, I am remembering the pain she endured for so very long. I see the wheelchair she hated so much to be in and recall the tears that flowed when I kissed her sweet lips and whispered "I love you" as she slipped off to heaven. I see her now, walking without pain. I see her smiling down on me and sometimes, feel her touch on my cheek.
Yes, heaven reached down to earth and took my Angel to live there. It took so many parts of my heart and soul. The one thing it did not take was my memories. Heaven smiled on me and left me with the most beautiful thoughts. Do I miss her and wish she were here today? Yes, with all of my heart and soul. Do I want to see her in the pain she lived through? Absolutely Not! Is moving on, forgetting. Today, I say No. Time... it is an amazing thing. It allows us the chance to go on without forgetting. I am eternally grateful for time.