Once you experience a close death – especially a sudden death – you fully appreciate the overwhelming accuracy of the expression “life can change on a dime.”
Indeed it can.
And when I met Billy, my life changed again, this time in a desirable direction. Who knew we were starting a “rest of our lives” relationship? Now I have a greater appreciation of Pharrell Williams’ lyrics: “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”
Indeed it is.
But I still haven’t forgotten the dime. What if a distracted driver plows into Billy’s car? What if his plane crashes? And why won’t he wear a bicycle helmet!
Researchers have found that most of what we worry about never happens, but that’s not the thought that comes to mind when you find yourself in an Emergency Room.
“It’s either a bladder infection or bladder cancer,” said the ER doctor dismissively.
The room was charged with silence, her words hanging in the air, as she and the nurse adjusted the continuous bladder irrigation apparatus (to be known to us as “the CBI” for the next 48 hours) through which Billy’s urine – the color of Chianti – was flowing. Thankfully, after a two-day hospital stay and several tests, we were ecstatic to learn all was fine. No cancer. No infection. No dime.
But before the prognosis, those dreadful hours were filled with rational worry and a trace of panic that had a haunting familiarity. Life doesn’t get easier once you’re widowed. You’re never prepared to be devastated.
“I want to go first!” I’ve joked with Billy. We laugh in the fleeting security of healthy times and relative youth.
But the reality is someone will go last, with all the suffering that entails.
There’s no way to emotionally prepare for the devastation of losing a loved one. We can prepare for hurricanes, ward off certain health issues and avoid war-torn regions. But we can’t prepare for a broken heart, an empty bed, a silent home.
And so we clap.
“Clap along if you know what happiness is to you”