There are times when I miss my wife. I call them every minute of every day, but in reality that isn’t true.
Sometimes I am out making new memories and doing new things. When those things are good, I often have them come to a screeching halt (in my mind) when I think, this is gonna be so awesome to share with Dawn. Then I have to pick myself up and continue, once again reminded that other than in spirit she is not here.
Other times, I miss her so acutely it has its own self generating degree of pain. Yesterday was one of those days. Yesterday, I had food poisoning. Such an evil thing, to serve someone a putrid beef burrito cleverly masked with cheese sauce.
I will mostly skip over my ordeal, because no one wants to hear about the nine hours of guessing which end was going to act up next. Or how much fun it is to be in a hotel room alone when both ends are going simultaneously and for respite, you have a bed that is way too soft for your back. No only feeling like hell because of the obvious, but the entire reason you are in a hotel , three hours from home, is you are supposed to be working.
About an hour into my ordeal, for just a brief delirious second, I felt Dawn’s hand on my back. I felt her taking care of me in my time of sickness. The delirium broke with another wave of technicolor tub splatter, but it had been there. From that moment on, I really could only think about how great a nursemaid she was when I got seriously sick and how much better life would be with her there.
I once had the flu. She had it first and refused to let it take her down for the first 2 days. She girded herself on determination and drugs and went to work, despite my suggestion of staying home and resting. When I got it, day one, I burrowed into the bed with an extra comforter and a bucket by the bed. She very directly called me a “pussy” for not fighting it like she had, then proceeded to bring me cool face cloths and keep me relatively clean and hydrated. My bout lasted about half as long as hers. To which I got no end of (light hearted) grief.
A few days later, I asked her why she wouldn’t take a day off until the flu FORCED her down; but she did take a day off when I went down with the flu. Her response was intimately Dawn. I don’t have time to be sick. I need to work to pay off my (our) cancer debt. I need to be a productive member of society because I don’t know how long I will be able to. You are such a great nursemaid to me all the time. You have chosen to work well below your talent level and earning potential so you can be my nursemaid and partner. The least I can do is take a day to show you I love you back in your sickness days, not just your health days.
All of that flooded back to me yesterday. It helped. It helped me to remind me how loved I am even if she can’t be here physically. Memories are life. It gave me a kind of hope and a kind of pain. It reminded me of why we are so well fitted and why after 42 years I joyously married.
Sometimes it takes a severe bout of food poisoning for me to learn a lesson. But I can learn.