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September 11, 2005

In the beat of a heart

No matter how well we think we have things figured out, how prepared we think we might be or how comfortable we might get in the ordinary day-to-dayness of life, it can all change in a heartbeat. One beat can dislodge a clot so tiny, sending it hurtling toward the brain where it gets hung up, causing a short-circuit, a siezure, a stroke, a coma or worse. One quick beat and our best laid plans are laid to waste.

'What is she on about now?' I hear you asking. No worries, I realize that this is coming out of left field in much the same way that tiny blood clot did. It will be clear soon enough. Or not.

Two weeks ago I was driving to karate when my cell phone rang. Odd occurence, as no one ever calls me on that phone except my kids and T. I had the kids with me so I picked up expecting T's voice. I didn't expect it to be a co-worker.

It was Melissa, the 'specials' team leader. She had gotten some news about a co-worker and, since I worked closely with this person, she thought I should know as soon as possible.

When I met Gail, she was pregnant and proud. I didn't know much about her except that she wasn't married and she was a couple of years older than me. It took me a while to get to know her since she was an assistant in a classroom and I didn't see her very often except to pass in the hall. It wasn't until last year, when they made her the In School Suspension (ISS) assistant that I had more one on one time with her. On days that she had no students, she came into the media center to help me out.

Last spring, she got married to her baby's father and they became a family. I've never seen anyone so smitten, so over-the-top happy, so suprised to finally have good in her life as Gail was. Until I look in the mirror, that is. I totally know where she is coming from. When you live your life with nothing and finally get something good, sometimes you are in shock, unable to believe that you deserve happiness. You call too often, email constantly, surround yourslef with tangible reminders of your happiness, think/talk/daydream about being happy, as if it is as foreign a concept as walking on land is to a fish.

Sure, YOU come up with a fresh analogy on 3 hours of sleep ... I dare ya.

So there I was, driving 70 down the highway, listening to Melissa telling me that Gail's husband had a massive stroke and is in ICU, that they don't think he will make it through the night. After I hung up, I turned up the radio and cried the rest of the way to karate. I explained to the kids as best as I could but I couldn't tell them what was going through my head. I struggled with my emotions all night, breaking down in tears several times, including once on the phone with T when I tried to explain why I sounded off.

How can I tell him that this shook me to the core without exposing my soft underbelly? How do I explain how scared I am of how easy it is to lose what you waited your whole life for?

Gail came back to work 2 days later. Jeff continues to improve but the road is a rough one for all of them. She is dealing with her 2 year old who doesn't want to go near her daddy (she was in the room with him when he had his stroke) and her husband at the hospital who doesn't want to be there and she has to be at work when all she wants to do is to be with her family and hold on.

This past Friday, dress-down day at work, Gail was in the media center with me all day. She was wearing a t-shirt and someone said something about how the color looked good on her. After they left, she said "It's Jeff's shirt." and my heart absolutely broke. Wearing your husband's shirt to work just so you can keep him close and gather strength from it is one of the most romantic things I've ever heard of. Akin to taking a shirt that was left behind and putting it over your pillow so that you can sleep on it ... yeah, I know that kind of fear, that kind of love.

Jeff looks like he will be ok. Gail will be fine, no matter what. Me? I don't know. How can anyone let themselves fall in love when it all could be taken away from them? My life has been so chaotic lately, so stressful, that I am finding myself with only one thing to cling to for my sanity. I just hope he doesn't mind.

Tell the person you love that you love them. Go. Do it now. I don't care if they are sleeping. Wake them up. This is important. I'll wait.


There. Don't you feel better? It's important that we do this. We need to love the people that we are with and, even more importantly, TELL them that we love them. The worst thing that I can imagine is ending a conversation with harsh words or going to bed angry and waking up to find that your life has been turned upside down in the beat of a heart.

Less than three, T ... it's that important.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on September 11, 2005 8:50 PM.

Not for nothing was the previous entry in this blog.

Aftereffects is the next entry in this blog.

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