I wonder if watching your husband die can trigger some sort of minor derivative of PTSD?

A year ago at this time Dave was fighting. He was fighting and working so hard to stay. Even in the hospital when he was essentially unconscious, he was trying to get out of bed. He is the strongest person I have ever met.

A year ago, when he was in heart failure (which I did not know then but I am certain of now), he was still trying to figure out how to get us to Hawaii. He was reassuring us through our tears. He was our biggest cheerleader.

I don’t dwell on Dave’s death. I do talk about him. A lot. I imagine this makes some people uncomfortable but those closest to me talk about him too. Because they know I need to. I don’t consider myself depressed and still maintain that if you didn’t know me before, you would have no idea.

Sometimes there is a trigger for a memory and other times an image pops into my head out of nowhere. These are not happy moments. These are the most devastating.

I think of Dave telling me he was scared. I replay my responses and wonder if I was comforting enough.

I think of Dave in the hospital where he was asleep except for one brief moment when he opened his eyes and said hello. I wonder if I imagined that moment.

I think of the EMTs coming in the house seemingly everywhere.

I think of the moments at home when he stopped breathing and I thought “Holy shit. This is it.” And I begged him to breath.

I think of him struggling and growing weaker – how he faded by leaps and bounds in a matter of minutes and hours.

These are not my daily thoughts. I don’t usually wake up with these memories fresh in my mind. But these are the things that pop into my head as I am driving home from work or sitting in front of the TV. Actually, it can happen pretty much any time and always knock me flat. These are the images that I cannot control because if I could, I would tell my brain to only remember the good times.

I know I have said it before, but I have heard that you spend the first year remembering how your person was at the end of their life and then after that you just remember who your person was. I really hope that after we cross this last “first” that this is true.



8 thoughts on “Memories

  1. You didn’t imagine it. He opened his eyes on the ER and said well hello. Fighter to the end. He didn’t want to leave any of us a minute too soon. He is well remembered. Ann

  2. I remember… sitting in PTSA meetings with a principal who listened to everyone’s thoughts and truly cared about our children and community. I also remember in those same meetings a father, who said he needed to leave by a certain time so he could drive home to Reston to tuck his daughter into bed. Always remembered.

  3. The other day I was explaining to someone that I felt at a crossroads in my life…when she asked why, I thought for a few moments and gave her two reasons. First, when my son graduated from high school something changed. So much of me had been wrapped up in his school experience…I guess I now had to find my next “thing” — still working on it. Second, was the much-too-soon passing of a wonderful person who in a very short time had left an indelible mark on so many people — including me. She didn’t know Dave, but after I described him she said how lucky I had been to have known him…and how I could take so much of what he was all about and continue his legacy. So, that’s a big part of my next chapter…thank you, Dave. We miss you so much…but Robyn, Samantha, Grant, Parker, family and friends keep you alive each and every day…xoxoxo
    PS I’ll be spending some extra time on your bench this week…xo

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