The following is a departure from the usual type of story that I share here. Usually, I share stories from our more distant past or stories of our ancestors' lives. This is a post sharing what has been on my heart in the year since David's amputation on the eve of our wedding anniversary.
A year ago today, our lives changed. Sure, it was just a toe that they took from my husband's physical body, but more than that was taken. Any semblance of security left with his toe that night. It went out the door and a future filled with nurses and doctors and home health, hospital stays and uncertainty, and more and more of him being taken away from me was left in its stead.
"Come, grow old with me. The best is yet to be" paints an entirely different picture now that it isn't a life of the two of us traveling this journey anymore, but a multitude of others that have pushed their way into our lives and worked hard to push me out of it. With each closing door, each nurse's statement of "We'll take good care of him" and "Mrs. McClendon, you can't come in here. You need to wait out there," they are crowding in and I am being pushed out. Their words, supposedly meant for comfort, mean anything but comfort to me. I see a future that has us not growing old together, but being pulled apart and him being taken from me, piece by piece until there is nothing left of him or us.
David just recently spent another two weeks in the hospital. I don't have to wonder if there will be another hospital stay; for the rest of our lives, it will always be when, not if, until that day when the doors close and they no longer bring him back to me and I go home alone.
"What ifs" drive him crazy. He thinks that I shouldn't borrow tomorrow's troubles by worrying about them today. What he doesn't understand is that these are my troubles today. Tomorrow is here now and I don't like this tomorrow. I want the tomorrow that I envisioned all those years ago when he proposed, when he asked me to grow old with him, promising that the best was yet to be.
I want that picture of two old people holding hands on the front porch in the old wooden rocking chairs facing that sunset together, together until death parts us, not someone in a white suit and cap saying "I'm sorry, Mrs. McClendon, you have to leave now."
We don't always get what we want. Sometimes the picture is a locked door with two broken, barely beating hearts on either side, trying to catch their breath and hold on, grasping for each other, but being ripped apart instead.