Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First, a pause.

Hello friends.  It's been a while.

I think I have something like fifteen or sixteen posts to my awfulsweetness name and all of it smattered over a short period between October something-th and now.  It's hardly worth a moment's contemplation compared to some blogs with far more dedicated writers who I have come to greatly admire.  To anyone (um, like me circa late September 2009) who flippantly assumes that they can just throw on some irreverent fashion, plop down in front of their laptop with a vodka martini, and bang out the next single gal's guide to the big city... go ahead.  Try it.

This writing for an unknown audience business is hard.  And even more so when you try to, ahem, keep it real.

I like you guys.  I like knowing that I can get out some feelings at three in the morning while Roseanne is on and maybe check back in at noon between classes and find that somebody, somewhere can relate.  I like that you comment and email.  I like that you're women all leading these topsy-turvy lives with careers and great shoes, husbands and children, dogs, ferrets, and even one chinchilla.  In my mind, I am sure that each of you is living at least one of my shoulda-woulda regrets (ie: law school, international humanitarian outreach, maintaining a clean and orderly house) and for some odd reason that makes them not like regrets at all. I'm impressed with you simply by virtue of being a part of this shared community.  And I've missed you all a little bit, I'm not ashamed to say.

So with that, I have something to share and it's part of the reason why I've been unexpectedly absent for a while.

No, I'm not pregnant.
We are not moving.
I did not graduate or get a new job.

In fact, this news isn't even my news at all.  My good friend's husband just recently died at the age of thirty two.  32.

My own husband is 34, I say as I shake my head at the unfathomable thought...

I met Carla in school this past summer.  We got lost together on campus looking for the security office.  We vowed not to let the other gain weight this year.  At last count we were both up seven pounds.  Her husband Wes worked in the same industry as my husband.  Two Mondays ago we were making plans to get the boys together.  They have a two year old daughter and looking at pictures you can see nothing in that man's eyes to suggest that he did not have every last intention of someday walking that beautiful little strawberry blonde down the aisle.

Last Sunday morning, Wes had a massive heart attack.  He was an accomplished gymnast during his younger years, handsome and fit to the day.  Carla woke up and got their daughter situated.  She came back in to the room and noticed that Wes' breathing sounded funny.  She put her hand to his head and he felt cold.  The digital thermometer read eighty-six.  Wes was unresponsive and Carla called 911.  Carla's sister had spent the night, and not wanting her daughter to hear or see the ambulance, Carla yelled for her to take the little one to McDonald's.  That was the first thing to make me cry.

Carla had to do chest compressions on her husband for what she estimated to be about seven or eight minutes before the paramedics arrived.

Sit completely still for just one minute, in silence, and see how long that feels.  Now multiply that times seven and imagine, for that entire time, that you are, quite literally, holding your husband's life and breath in your hands.  Slamming away on his chest, hoping and praying that blood is reaching his brain.  The man you fell in love with, married, the father of your child, walker of the dog in the rain, carrier of the heaviest groceries, maker of the jokes when you're sad.

By Monday afternoon, the doctors told Carla that Wes had no brain function, no activity.  He was an organ donor and according to Carla this was something that was very close to his heart.  She actually said that... close to his heart.  They waited to take him off life support until his brother had arrived from New York.  Wes was pronounced at 12:30am Tuesday morning.

I haven't known Carla long, but we all have those people in our lives who don't require years of awkward growth spurts to reveal how truly special they are.  She is someone who could have been in my life all along.  I wish I knew more of her stories, had been there for her baby shower, known her even before she met Wes. She is a good soul.

The viewing was Friday and the funeral Saturday morning.  I overheard so many memories, saw so many smiles as family and friends looked over the countless photos framed and taped over every surface in the room.  I know I missed out by not having met Wes.

This is a site put together by family and friends.  The letters to their daughter Ava are lovely.

I would write about priorities, getting over one's self and the like, but that really hasn't been the effect.  The past several days have just been overwhelmingly sad, in part because having priorities won't keep your husband's heart from stopping at an age not even half his anticipated life expectancy and that is a bitch you can't shut up.  I've been reaching over periodically throughout the night, making sure Mike is there and breathing.  I'm still seething with rage due to his leaving the frying pan to rust in the brand new sink, but that aside we have plans yet unrealized, new mortgages still to pay.  He promised to be here with me, to be the person I brush my teeth with at night - bitterly of course, as we are still suffering with only one sink between us.  If he left me here to face the world alone.  Well friends, I have a confession.  That is something I don't know that I could do.

When I married him I chose not to remain an I.  That was a forever choice.  The part of me that was shunting dependency and future stakes away from my one-bedroom apartment heart was now permanently filled, patent, and flowing.  Now that I have learned to breathe the air, I could not live without it.

Dramatic?  Maybe.  But ladies, this is life.  LIFE.  Us chosen few here on Earth.

So here's to doing it.  And to Wes, may we all be blessed to be a part of someone else's happiness, for however long we're given.


  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. We, as people, are so quick to forget how short life is. My thoughts and prayers are with your friend and her little girl.

  2. Wow, I have no words. I cannot imagine what Carla must be going through while trying to remain strong for her daughter. My thoughts and prayers are with them. This entry was very powerful.

  3. So incredibly sad. I will keep Carla and her daughter in my prayers.

  4. And now I'm crying at work.

    I am so sorry for your friend's loss. I will be thinking about Wes, Carla, and Ava this week.

  5. I just don't even know where to begin. Thank you for sharing this, even though I know it must be hard. Life really is something we should enjoy everyday. Know that they are in our thoughts.

  6. Well you know you got my water-works going. Thanks for reminding everyone that life is too short and not to take everything for granted.

  7. I can't even imagine!!! And your writing just makes it so much more emotional. You really do have a way with words. Thoughts and prayers to her family!