“Mrs. Shears I know this is difficult but due to the circumstances, I am sure you understand why this decision has to be made within the next fifteen minutes. I am sorry.”
Nodding was all this tired body had the strength to do. With one more tissue I followed the family liaison back into room four.
We passed at least one other doctor and a slew of nurses that avoided eye contact with me. The nice skinny paramedic who arrived on the scene was long gone.
There was an IV in my husband’s arm providing him with comfort as his heartbeat would continue to slow, the rabbit now becoming the tortoise.
It would soon lay beat less, released from the fine duty of pumping blood through an old vet’s body.
That is how the thief steals your happiness, through your husband’s heart because he knows you value that more than your own.
He knows that if he goes for your heart you’ll be none the wiser because the dead know nothing, feel nothing.
But, if he goes for your husband’s heart you’ll become the unlucky owner of every grief known to man.
He wasn’t just stealing a husband, but also a father, a friend, and a man who walked it like he talked it and made it pleasing to the eyes and ears. I dropped my head in prayer once more.
Though there seemed to be a block between my cries and God’s eyes and ears because every time someone came in here they were giving more bad news on top of bad news to the point
that I knew that without a miracle I was going to say goodbye to my husband in this beautifully strange town on the lake.
Everything always happened rapidly for us. I always liked that, I assume he did too. I was a busy body, always moving, meetings, workshops, dances, I always had something to do.
Always moving quickly. That wouldn’t be the case this time. At most, we had a day. Twenty four hours in a day and age when we made plans more than a year in advance.
In the early planning phases of this trip, we were going to fly but that was so typical of us and Dan wanted something different.
Our plan was to pick up Anne and Jacob and hit the road at dawn. The first day would be all travel time but we were good friends and so we were okay with that.
It had been a long time since Ann and I were able to laugh at the men to their faces so this should be good for us.
Daniel and I were hitting twenty three years of marriage and we were going to take Chicago by storm in a weekend full of celebration.
We ached to see if we were still the life of the party, to see what the next chapter would hold.
It’s comical looking back. Our story began in the Philippines, Dan and mine, right down Friendship Boulevard. He was smaller back then, he was handsomer now; we were both dangerously crazy.
I was just a supervisor, back then, at a local call center taking the brink of a customer’s frustrations for them not being able to talk to anyone who spoke English.
“Yes sir I understand,” I would respond while surrounded by some of the most intelligent multilingual people I had ever known judged by others solely on their accents.
He met me at what I would describe as being one the weakest, most vulnerable moments of my life up until now. He was definitely a rebound guy turned husband.
In the fall of 2000, I just so happened to be one of five supervisors chosen to travel overseas to help retrain our management team at a sister site in Pampanga.
I cared less about the goals of the company and more about what this would mean for my family goals.
The added bonus of a paid for passport and covered travel arrangements made this trip hard to decline.
Add to that when I was finished with my assignment I would be eligible to apply for a manager position, I packed quickly.
It wasn’t easy leaving Liv, my three year old daughter, in the care of my fiancé Drew but it seemed like what we needed to do at the time to propel our family forward. I, as always, had a plan.
After returning to the states and moving into my new managerial position we could be married within the year.
It was to be a lovely spring wedding with flowers in full bloom and a bouquet full of Calla Lilies and rich red roses. We set a date.
Drew was my high school sweetheart and at the time I couldn’t wait to spend a couple of forevers with him.
I know it doesn’t sound like great parenting to leave a child so young but again, I had a plan. In my head, the pros outweighed the cons. So, all signs pointed to go.
It was four months into my six month trip and I couldn’t bare it any longer. I flew home and spent what seemed to be a great week with my fiancé and our daughter.
Leaving her the second time would prove harder than the first. After my 24 hour flight back to the Philippines I called to let everyone know I was safely back in the land of Tagalog and rice.
Drew used this time to bring forth a confession that would change the course of our future. There was a girl.
There wasn’t supposed to be another girl yet there she was all prim and proper, popping the balloon that was my happily ever after. In hindsight I am thankful, at that time I was raging.
She was pregnant.
I thought I was pro-life until I asked him to pay for the demise of an innocent, unborn human being.
I had never thought lower of myself than I did every time I remembered that I had spoken those words once upon a time. They made no difference.
That’s not to say that those words were harmless just that they made no difference. She was eight months pregnant. There would be a baby.
Drew suggested putting the wedding off and that’s exactly what we did, we put the wedding off. Forever.
Drew became a washed up character of a past chapter who would occasionally make guest appearances for Liv’s sake. My story had to go on.
At that time Dan was in his fifth year in the Marines.
I think he was ready to get out but he always says it was me and had always been me that shifted his future decision from a military career to that of a civilian.
His grandmother was Japanese, said he had always had the want to travel to Asia; being stationed in Okinawa was a dream come true for him.
Said he loved the sexy slant of a Japanese girl’s eyes and they loved his dimpled chin. I recalled literally laughing out loud when he told me this.
That dimple was the most unattractive thing on my husband’s face. Even now thinking about it makes me smile, something my inner spirit needed, and I reach down to gently stroke his beard.
Time was passing and my love was slipping farther and farther away from me.
The slight slant in his eyes was the only things he had inherited from his grandmother, that left one was my personal favorite.
I could catch that wink from across the room and I would smile so big, my light brown cheeks flushing, betraying me every single time.
He always had this tony the tiger roughness, gentleness, dichotomy thing going on. Today I really needed that strength to pull through for us.
I was doing what I believed to be a phenomenal job posing as someone with this unbelievable strength, but I actually felt pretty weak and drained. I was becoming really discouraged.
My grandmother always told me to just pray.
Boy, did me and the good Lord have a good heart to heart today! She followed that up with if you pray why worry and if you’re going to worry why pray?
Well, my grandfather was still alive and doing very well so there is no way she could know what I was carrying on my shoulders right now.
Remembering our beginning still brought those happy tears to my eyes. The stinging, I’m sure, was from the reality that all I will leave this hospital with are past memories.
I leaned over the cold bed rail to give him a kiss as a tear sashayed simply and delicately out of my eye and onto his cheek.
The night my ex broke my heart I remember I went out looking for him. Not Dan specifically but any old him.
Some him that wanted to buy me drinks, and dance, and sing compliments into my ear all night. Someone who could make me forget my reality.
Perhaps someone to take my reality away, I never did anticipate finding someone that would change it. Clearly, I was not thinking clear.
I chuckle out loud as I thank God I didn’t make it far alone on that long ago night. I first stopped at the bar in the hotel where Dan and his comrades were throwing back fire Dr.
Peppers and just lighting all kind of drinks on fire giving the appearance that there was a glow party going on. It was actually his friend Jimmy that asked me to join them as I was running by.
One drink turned into two and by drink three I was having a better time with Dan.
The party eventually moved to the casino where in his drunken stupor he proceeded to allow me to lose about ten thousand pesos before reclaiming possession of his wallet.
To this day he would not allow me into a casino.
When we made those forever promises that a man makes to a forever type of lady we decided to go half on another baby, he promised to love me, my daughter Liv and our unborn child viciously.
I promised to reciprocate this love until it was consuming.
And when those two precious birdies flew the nest, we vowed that we would go back to the Philippines where our journey had first begun.
We would go back and visit the silly hat club where in the land of really petite women there was an extremely curvy girl with great dance moves.
We would ride on the back of a jeepney and be sure to lean too far over. We would buy cigarettes and Viagra from the boys roaming the streets with wooden baskets.
We would sit on the curb and eat whole chickens out of a bag with special sauce at five am while night life thrived.
We would revisit the bar with all the pretty girls dressed in little pink dresses outside luring you into the bar called pussy cat dolls.
We would repurchase our favorite girl again just to give her another night off in a fancy hotel where she could swim and drink to her heart’s desire, a good ole American PTO day.
PLEASE CONTINUE ON WEBSITE POSTED