Sitting in a surgical waiting room, trying to breathe. In one short week our entire life flipped upside down, and we’ve spent the interim trying to suppress the constant low-level anxiety that comes along with the severity of what we are facing. Today is the beginning of “the fight,” one to which we will give every ounce of life we have. I watch him wheel away for the surgical insertion of his central line, and it becomes so real, the fragility of life staring me down through those beautiful dark brown eyes…a life with so much purpose, passion, and love. Carl is my soul-mate. He is everything and more that you could ask for in a partner. He is the beat of my heart. The years we have had together, making two tiny perfect humans, our house into a home, our marriage into a strong and thriving partnership. It is painful that such a gentle man could be faced with so much loss, given that his daily focus is giving to others and perfecting their dining experience. He has lived his life through his stomach, mastering all his senses, and making food art. Now ironically, it is his stomach that threatens that very life.
I remember the first time Carl and I met and had our first real conversation. Even then, it was as if he was speaking to my heart. I became alive in a way that I never knew possible through the growth of our relationship. Carl, never settling for anything but the best for himself, and for those whom he loves, has pushed me to be the best person I can be. His love has made me want to be a better person, wife, mother, nurse, friend, and sister.
Our love story is one that came out of tragedy. He, displaced and homeless post Hurricane Katrina. And myself? I was lost, drifting through my life after a nasty divorce that broke up my family, and in so many ways my entire path of life. Circumstances sent us both to a beautiful sleepy beach community located on Florida’s 30-A coast. It was through our love our hearts mended and a new family was created. Our two beautiful children embody not only our love for each other but God’s love for us. Those little people have all the best qualities of their daddy (thankfully much more focus than their mother).
Today is the beginning of our fight. Today (and every day hereafter) I must remember to cherish the joys and victories, however small they may be. I mustn’t forget the everyday delight of hearing our happy children waking up for school or their excitement at seeing us when we pick them up at the end of the day, or hugs and kisses and prayers and one more story after the last story at bedtime. I must remember that our love has brought us to this place and trust that this, too, shall pass…but love remains. Always.