Imagine going out one evening with your husband, your best friend, and awakening three months later. You open your eyes to strange surroundings; you are in a hospital over sixty miles from your home. Everything in you life has changed; nothing will ever be the same.
They tell me it’s December now. October seems like yesterday’s dream. This has to be a bad dream, one from which I cannot seem to awaken.
Dale, my husband, my best friend, is not here. They tell me he has been killed. Dead? How can he be dead? I remember, as if it were only hours ago talking to him, seeing him. He even explained why I couldn’t move.
“There has been an accident,” he explained. “You are strapped to a body board because you keep pulling out the tubes and lines that are keeping you alive. You are going to be all right,” he said.
He then reminded me of the time when he slipped a disk in his back and had to be put on a backboard for support. We laughed together remembering how, while he was strapped to a body board; I had fixed him tacos to eat. Where are you Dale? Come and laugh with me again.
The doctor is here now. He is telling me I’m lucky, lucky to be alive. When I had arrived at the hospital there had not been much hope for my survival. I had actually died twice during surgery he explained. I am a true fighter he tells me, I fought and I lived. I will get to see my children soon. I stayed alive for them.
He tells me most of my face has been destroyed. My long blond hair, which I had so carefully cared for is gone. The Dr. shrugs off the hair loss, he tells me my hair will grow back and in a few months, with several surgeries, my face can be restored to look almost the same.
What does he mean my face can be made to look almost the same? I can find a new career when I’m better. A new career? Why?
After all it is only logical Comair (Delta) Airlines had to replace me. After all I could have just as easily died he tells me.
“Never again will I play softball or volleyball, but at 34 I was getting too old to play anyway. I’m sure I’ll have a few legal matters to clear up and as soon as I’m able I will be able to replace my car. No more T-top cars for me.”
The world has continued on while I have slept. My mother was discovered to have cancer and has had to recently have surgery. She too is a fighter her Dr. explained. She had her breast removed but she will recovery nicely. He assured the family that Mom’s prospects for complete recovery were excellent.
My sons have completed a semester of school without me. Who checked their grades, helped with their homework? Are they all right? My God, how they must have worried, did they feel so alone?
Dale. You didn’t come to see me did you? You’re gone. How could you leave us? I didn’t even get to say good-bye. How can it be that you now live only in my heart, in my children’s thoughts, in our families’ prayers?
Dying, it was peaceful wasn’t it? It felt good didn’t it Dale? It a buzz — a high. A feeling higher than any you had ever experienced. The ULTIMATE BUZZ, Dale. I always teased you about being in search of that Ultimate Buzz; I just never thought you’d find it. Not at 34 years old, not at the price of leaving us alone, without you. I’m angry, I hurt so badly. My body is not the only thing broken, so is my heart.
You see Dale I know all about that feeling. That Ultimate Buzz. It would have been so easy to give in to it, was it easy for you, Dale? I know the feeling of that buzz Dale because I died too. But I had too much to do; I couldn’t relax and go with it. There are children to care for. I had to fight, I had to come back. We are so needed here Dale. You could have waited. Fought like I fought, tried just a little harder. You could have made it too! You could have LIVED!
I guess the feeling was too peaceful, too easy for you. I wanted to say goodbye. I didn’t have the chance, or maybe I did say goodbye. Maybe we did laugh together before you left. Maybe you did come to see me, to laugh together one last time. I hope it was you, a last memory to share.
I miss you. Goodbye, my husband, goodbye, my friend.