For me, this is a time of mixed emotions. I experienced a period of profound sadness and loneliness all in one. It was very early in 1997 but let me begin at the beginning. (Where else would one start?)
Our home was full of family and we had just celebrated Christmas 1996 and now it was New Years Eve. A time when joy and expectations of a grand year ahead were on our minds. Our son David and his family were staying with us and preparing to leave early on the 1st for their new home in Arizona. Marj’s sister was visiting from Houston, always a fun time.
Marj had not been feeling well so we made a trip to the ER on the 30th of December and was cleared for takeoff. BUT, early in the evening of the 31st, I was missing her and went to investigate and discovered that she was in dire distress and we called 911. The crew arrived and quickly determined that she had suffered a stroke – a big one. Luckily, they did not give her the shot to open clogged arteries.
We did get her to the hospital and through many x-rays, it turned out the cause was not a clogged artery but a hemorrhage in the brain. Had they administered the shot, she would have most assuredly died. As a side note, we had just received one those rare very heavy snowfalls and we had over 2 feet on the ground. The medics arrived and the ambulance died and the second unit arrived but was stuck so when they left we all went outside and pushed it to firmer snow pack. By that time, all five of our sons were there so there was plenty of manpower and adrenaline to get the job done post haste.
Because of this happening, our son put off his departure and we were all ecstatic that Mom had survived and would have some level of recover, how much recovery no one knew.
On or about the 6th of January, her sister left to return to Houston and Dave and family left the next morning in the pre-dawn hours.
After they left, I walked back into this huge box of a three story house, and 6 bedrooms and suddenly, I was alone. Really alone for the first time in my life.
I have never experienced such loneliness before or since. I was overwhelmed and did not know what to do but hurry to the hospital a little later. It was only 5 AM when they left so it didn’t make any sense to go right then. Probably should have gone anyway but I wasn’t thinking rationally at that point.
What I am thankful for on this day of Thanksgiving and actually every day, is that Marj did recover with some difficult residual effects, namely compromising of her body’s right side and memory/speech difficulties which endure today.
However – and this is a big one – she is still with us and I thank God for every moment. We celebrated our 55th anniversary this year and life is good. Fifty five years on the way to being together forever.
Thanks for listening.