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Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Remember...

Two years, 730 days, 17, 520 hours, 1,051,200 seconds, a lifetime.  Today marks the two year anniversary of Andrea’s passing.  There are some events in your life that you will forever remember; of course Dec 17th is that day for me.  I can close my eyes right now and relive that day to the smallest of details.  I remember driving to the hospital that day, praying “God, I don’t want to ever have to make the decision to remove Andrea from the vent.”  I did not want to have to live with the thought that I gave up on her.  I remember walking in that morning and finding the doctors trying to wake Andrea up, pushing on her chest trying to get her to respond, as they tried to determine why she had taken such a turn for the worse.  I remember walking up to her bed, and calling her name, she opened her eyes just for a moment, and I knew she heard me.  I remember telling the doctor I needed our Oncologist to help me understand what to do.  I remember calling our Oncologist in North Carolina.  I remember him telling me what I had to do.  I remember calling family and friends.  I remember calling Nic telling him to get Anthony out of school and get up to the hospital, because “It looks like today is the day.” I remember the doctor explaining what was going to happen.  I remember Nic coming out of Andrea’s room with such a scared look on his face because Andrea was spitting up blood.  I remember rushing in and wiping her mouth.  I remember knowing it was time. 
I remember the nurse unhooking Andrea’s IVs.  I remember when the vent was removed and Andrea had to breathe on her own.  I remember they turned off all the monitors in the room.  I remember the room lost its sense of hope.  I remember it was 12:25.  I remember the nurse walking in with the Morphine.  I remember it being a glass IV jar.  I remember how free Andrea looked when all the wires were removed.  I remember the boys and me standing by her bed.  I remember praying in Andrea’s ear.  I remember singing to her.  I remember looking up as the doctors walked in and told me she had passed.  I remember it was 1:07. I remember her body no longer looked like her.  I remember the coolness of her lips when I kissed her.  I remember not knowing what to do.  I remember feeling lost and alone.  I remember feeling inadequate as a man, and a father.  I remember packing her clothes away.  I remember the depth of pain and grief as I packed away the nightgown she wore on our honeymoon. I remember that was the saddest I have ever been.  I remember how easy it was to slip into the pit of grief.  I remember feeling as if I had lost my identity our hopes and our dreams.  I remember how I regretted leaving the hospital her last night.  I hoped she did not wake up and need me.
That is what I remember about Dec 17th 2007.  But it is not all I remember about Andrea. 
I remember how wise she was.  I remember her praying in the night when she was hurting.  I remember waking up in the night seeing the closet light on and knowing she was in there praying.  I remember her always praying for others before she prayed for herself.  I remember her laying on my back trying to stop me from crying when the doctor told us her cancer was incurable.  I remember her hand rubbing my arm and her soft voice in my ear saying, “It’s going to be okay" over and over.  I remember her falling on the floor in tears thanking God when she was told she did not have a brain tumor.  I remember thinking she has not given up, she wants to live. I remember hearing Andrea vomiting in our bathroom. I remember thinking I needed to go hold her.  I remember walking in and seeing her sitting on the floor after she threw up and raise her hand and praise God for all He had done for her. I remember thinking I had never seen such faith as that. I remember how we laughed when she went to look at wigs and the salesman thought it was for me.  I remember how she hated that wig.  I remember all her scarves and how she always matched it with her outfit.  I remember how she was always so beautiful to me.  I remember how naive we were the first time in the chemo room.  I remember seeing the red  chemo drug flowing down the IV tube the first time.  I remember how final it seemed, that we could not turn back now.  I remember wanting to rip the IV out and run.  I remember staying because we had to.   I remember the “Chemo Girls” and all they did to lift Andrea’s spirits.  I remember watching them with Andrea and thinking how much they loved each other.  I remember how those women taught me to love someone. I remember a friend gave us a digital picture frame in the ICU that was loaded with pictures from our computer.  I remember lying on Andrea’s bed in the ICU and talking to her about each picture remembering our life together.  I remember laughing as we relived the moments, I remember crying as we relived the moments.  I remember her strength as she laid in the ICU for 23 days.  I remember her squeezing my hand when I asked her if she still wanted to fight. I remember the first time I visited her grave.  I remember wanting to dig and get her out.  I remember falling on my knees and sobbing.  I remember seeing her tombstone for the first time.  I remember running my finger across her name carved in marble.  I remember missing her.
I remember her smile that took away every worry I had.  I remember her touch that calmed me when I was unsure, scared or afraid.  I remember her faith that was a beacon to me as a young man.  I remember her last words to me as I took her into the ICU, “Jim you have to be strong now.”  I remember her when Nic was born, and when we adopted Anthony.  I remember seeing her for the very first time and knowing I loved her with all my heart.  I remember her beautiful blue eyes. I remember how she never looked small to me.  I remember folding her clothes and thinking how little her clothes looked.  I remember her walking in the house after working in the garden, her dirty hands, how she wiped the sweat off her brow.  I remember she was always happy working in her garden.  I remember her telling me she would go through all the chemo, all the horrible treatments, even die if it leads one person to Christ.  I remember she told me that after 2 years of treatment.  I remember her wish that her boys would have a relationship with Christ.   I remember so many friends helping us, praying for us. I remember the hope I still have in Christ.  I remember knowing He did not leave me. 
I remember so many things about Andrea but in the end I remember her telling me not to worry, I remember her faith, her unwavering trust in God, and I remember that she is with the Lord today.
I remember to Andrea my two years, 730 days, 17, 520 hours, 1,051,200 seconds is just a blink of an eye. 
I remember I will see her in a little bit.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Jim--what a blessing you are to me brother. Merry Christmas!

    Tim Schofield