I really expected this year wouldn't be quite so hard ... that my thoughts wouldn't take me back to this day 3 years ago ... the last day he was here in this house. The day I had to call 911 for the final time. But it has. The sadness. The heaviness. It seems to reside in my heart and burst forth even before I realize what the date is. Perhaps it will always be like this. An annual rewind of one of the most important weeks of my life.
I find myself needing to go back to my CaringBridge journal to read again of those days. To try to understand how I could not have known that it was the beginning of the end. The signs are there ... in hindsight. And I beat myself up for not seeing them then. For not talking to Vern about it when he was still able to talk about it. But I didn't and I can't change that now. I did not expect that he would not come home. I did not expect that call would lead us to hospice. I had no idea when those 6 EMTs gently lifted my love onto a gurney on the 14th day of September in 2010 that he would be gone just 8 days later.
During those hard cancer years I didn't realize I had a wound, too - there was no time, no energy, no desire to worry about me. My entire life was devoted to caring for him, to ease his pain, to research the questions, to be his advocate in the difficult medical community, to watch for signs, to give shots, to administer IVs and pills, to take blood pressure, to measure oxygen levels, to clean and rebandage that stinkin' wound that wouldn't heal, to spend countless nights curled up in a chair next to him as we waited in the hospital for the latest crisis to be handled, to flush his PICC line, to get him to his dialysis and chemo and doctor and blood transfusion appointments, to deal with that colostomy bag, to keep his spirits positive, to love him. But my wound was there, festering just below the surface, waiting ... waiting ... waiting to break through and rip me open when he was gone.
Three years ... that wound is still there. It has healed at times - on the surface, just like Vern's. But it remains. Always and forever. A reminder of both the hard times and the blessings that were ours. Yes, blessings. There were many, even in the midst of the heartaches. Some days I can focus on the light ... some days are wrapped in the darkness. But the one constant is love. It was there ... it IS there ... always.