Sometimes numbers play a telling role in our lives. They reoccur again and again to point the way, or sneak in on things so that we pay attention. Or, sometimes, they glow.
Few days after being married, spouse and I were off on our honeymoon. We had driven across the US so that his family could see him take that walk. Of the three kids, he would the only one not to elope and therefor, his mom would get to see one of her kids actually marry. Was the only option, once we heard she could not make the trip out to us--we went to her. Poor woman cried for three days when she found out she was the reason we made the trip.
After a few more days on the road, we were on Hubby's old stomping grounds--where he spent every summer working the family farm. We toured the house, a historical landmark. Upon walking onto the back porch, the area lit white in my vision with '30...' scrolling electric across my view. Then Hubby told me the back patio room was added in the 1930's. Makes sense.
The rest of the visit went well. We had a wondrous time with his uncle, the last of the three brothers. I listened, enthralled, as they talked down memory lane. Also had one of the most engaging conversations I've ever had. His uncle loved natural disasters and natural phenomena. He and I spoke of any we could think of! Three trips to the bathroom later, my husband was finally able to rejoin the conversation. Hubby was proud. He had waited for years to see that transpire.
On the last morning, readying the truck and saying our goodbyes (how I wished we could have stayed!), his uncle came out of the house, I saw a number above his head. It was electric and gold. The number was 10. In that instant, my guide impressed its meaning. He had ten days left to live. I refused to believe it. It must be 10 weeks, could even be years! Days was just absurd! Absolutely bunk!!
I did not say a thing to my husband. Nor to his uncle. There are decencies which must be observed in this and blabbing on a timeline (something I had not visually seen until that day) is one of the big ones. So, I drag my feet on the goodbyes and get us on the road more than an hour late.
It was worth it. But not enough.
We finished our trek across the country, sightseeing some amazing things. From the top of Medicine Mountain in Wyoming, you can see the curve of the Earth from the ground. Got some cool, albeit short, video of that. When we got home, we called his uncle. We called few times a week just to keep the chats going.
10 days after we left him, Hubby's uncle did not answer his phone. We called three times that day. Two days after that, in the late of the evening, I was passing into the eatery of the kitchen from the living room when I saw his uncle standing inside the doorway. I screamed Hubby's name, 3-4 times. He ran up the basement steps, other side of the kitchen, asking, "what? What's wrong?"
I said, "call (uncle's name)."
"Why?" Hubby asked.
"He's standing beside me."
It was then, I knew he had been dead for two days. No one of the family back there called us. We got through to a neighbor cleaning out his house on our third day of calling.
Hubby went back to our bedroom. I did not see him again for a few hours.
A few years prior, I met his step-dad. Saw a glowing mass, I did not understand. Asked (then boyfriend) Hubby, what was wrong with his head. Six months later, step dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Inoperable--by about 6 months. When that call came in, Hubby hung up the phone, took a few breaths, and looked to me. All he said was, "you knew" and walked out of the room. Was three hours before I saw him again. Try as I might, I could not find words correct enough to say through the door. He would need time. I did wonder why I had not asked louder, maybe they would have thought I crazy, but gone to be checked? (that is crazy) Everything happens for a reason. Is not up to us to know, just to follow our own fate's guide.
After his uncle passed, and thinking back to that call about his step-dad, Hubby spoke to me over the next three days only if he had to. Was not to be malicious. Was to deal with the situation. I got close when we would let me, but gave him space when he wouldn't.
I learned very clearly, through my husband's own torment, just how hard it can be to live with someone who is open. My husband has had his own experiences, the fact that I never judged him for admitting went a long way in building our relationship. Seeing moments where I seem to pick up what should not be there to know, goes even farther to test our bond. Hubby has not had it easy. His strength amazes me each time.
Those of us who see/feel/hear/what have you, we largely just go with it. It is all we can do. Those close to us who are, rather uninitiated (kind of like the word), they have the harder task of wrestling us into their understanding of reality.
Broke my heart to see my husband be placed on such a short end of things. When he came back to me (able to speak to me) after the news about his step-dad, he said he was not angry with me, how could I have really known what it was, and was not leaving, but needed time. I hugged him until he found the words he needed to be closer to whole once more.
After news of his uncle, Hubby revisited that moment with his step-dad. He mentioned both. His tone very sharp, nearly aimed right into me. How could one person know so much (about two people) (and have them end up dead)? When he came back then, it was in tears. Instead of being angry, as I know he had a right to be, he held on to us, onto who we were as a couple. I held onto him, every bit as sorry a I was wishing I could help. This is not a test to be proud of, but one I am ever grateful we survived. Of that, I credit my husband and his strength in pulling us through--and closer together.
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