The morning started like any other, four different alarm clocks sounded announcing the beginning of each family member’s day. Shouts resounded through the kitchen as each announced the appointments of their day just prior to closing the door. My husband reminded me of his annual physical and our early lunch date. Dressed in his favorite short skirt, tights, and tailored jacket, I waved goodbye and closed the door. Glancing at the clock, I decided that the time before our date would be spent best editing a recent assignment.
The time passed quickly but my husband had not called to check in. I busied myself; completed the editing project, attached it to an email, clicked Send, and smiled with a sense of accomplishment. Yet the phone did not ring, nor did he walk through the door. Now he was two hours late; so much for an early lunch and an afternoon of marital bliss.
The phone finally rang. I was not prepared for what I heard. He began by saying that the annual physical appointment went well. Then he lowered the boom saying, “I’m at the Washington Hospital Center to have a cardiac catheterization.” My mind clouded over. I could not process what he was saying. The nonchalance in the delivery of his message caught me off guard, but I managed to control my emotions making a joke about heart examinations and Valentine’s Day.
We had made plans to enjoy an early lunch to miss the giddy young lovers and the press of the Valentine’s Day evening rush for restaurant tables. Now I sat anxiously by the phone waiting to receive a call to update me on my lover’s heart condition. A blur of activity surrounded me in the home office. People milled about, I heard the sound of the cars as they whizzed past, my head was in a whir. It was hard to focus. I was definitely distracted. Waves of agita flowed through my stomach. Uncertainty is the best adjective to describe the long wait that Valentine’s Day.
Hours passed. I paced the floor until I beat a visible path into the nap of the carpet. Remembering funny occasions in our relationship, I smiled as I paced. I became misty at the remembrance of hard times and tense moments deeming them a waste of precious time. The evening dawned, dusk set in, and suddenly it was dark outside. The phone had failed to ring. I stood statuesque staring out into the darkness.
The piercing sound of the ringing phone broke the deafening silence. Robot-like, I lifted the receiver speaking quietly. The doctor’s voice clearly sounded over the hubbub of hospital noises, “Mrs. Jackson? Your husband is fine. He will be released. You can retrieve him in a couple of hours.”
Relief flooded my mind and body. Tragedy often creates an awareness of misaligned priorities. I grabbed a coat, keys and drove to the hospital. I realized I loved my husband deeply and needed to tell him so more often. I retrieved him, we embraced, and I held him tightly, lingering in his arms.
- Be honest. Tell yourself and your spouse the truth about your health status.
- Be kind. Control your emotions as you process unsettling information.
- Be loving. Love is an action word. Allow your love to be heard and seen.
- Be present. Be authentically present in the moment.
- Be aware. Make yourself aware of the focal point of each life situation. Often you are not the focal point.