Michael has been really sick with a cold/flu the past few days. He never gets this sick. At one point he went into our room and stayed in bed sound asleep for over ten hours. One would need to understand that he has the metabolism of a rabbit, and he sleeps for his eight hours then gets up and doesn't stop moving until it's time for bed again. I, personally cannot keep up with him. He is a machine when it comes to work or chores. I, on the other hand am more of a delicate flower and promptly wilt after dinner time.
While he was in bed sleeping for so long, I found myself doing what I used to do with my kids, checking to see if he was still breathing, feeling very freaked out by the idea that he was sick. I am paranoid. I have been paranoid since the day Danny told me he had cancer. I have good reason to be paranoid, since Danny died, I tend to have trust issues about illness and recuperation. It is not a rational thought for me, this I am sure. However, I forgive my inner skeptic. When Danny died things changed for me. I was forever altered and all I can do now is be respectful to the young heart inside myself, who gets scared and feels the need to put the mirror under the noses of my family every time they sleep longer than expected.
I worry more than I probably should that the other shoe will drop again. I have told God quite firmly, that I do not have it in me to bury another person from my immediate family under the age of 70. I still have nightmares, watching Danny suffer and die from the ravaging effects of cancer. I watched him go from being one the strongest people I ever knew to being weak, scared and feeble, unable to eat, his face grimaced in pain as he drifted further and further from life. He had not lived a full life. He had not done all he could do. There was then and continues to be now not one shred of justice in his demise. One only has to look at the faces of my children at the sound of his name, to witness that.
I cling to Michael as if he provides my air sometimes. He is kind to me, and allows for my weakness. He understand how I fear for the worst and let my imagination get the best of me. He doesn't mock me when I check to see if he is still breathing. he merely rolls over and and says,"I am still here, Baby. I am not going anywhere." He then holds my hand close to his heart so I can feel as safe as I am ever going to feel. Michael gets me. I never have to apologize for all the crazy thoughts I have, because I have seen the world crumble from underneath me. I never have to feel awkward about how I feel as if it were some big secret I have been hoarding. Michael and I have had thousands of conversations about why I get so jumpy and nervous. We have told each other about our insecurities and the buttons that never need to be pushed, ever. I made him promise me that I will get to die first. I tell him it's a contractual agreement and he cannot break it. I almost put it in our wedding vows, " Me first!"
It isn't rational. It doesn't have to be. I was watching the movie "P.S. I love you" with Betty yesterday. It's one of my favorite movies. In the movie the young widow finally breaks down at the realization that her beloved is NEVER coming back. I relate to this in every way. I cry every time I see it, remembering running to my own mom when I found out that Danny was deemed incurable, terminal. I was supposed to be on my way to school in Akron, driving an hour from our home in Cleveland. I got 3/4 the way there when I started crying uncontrollably. Water poured from eyes as if a faucet had been left on. I couldn't breathe, I could barely see and I drove like an utter maniac on a mission straight to my parent's house in a neighboring town. I ran in, running to my mother's arms practically knocking her down. She practically carried me to the couch and just sat holding me as I cried so hard, I drenching us both with my body wracking sobs. I repeated, "he is dying", over and over, as my mom held me tight. I felt bereft. I had not known what the feeling of that word was until Danny died. It was all so surreal for me. Danny has been gone now longer than I knew him in life. I find that unfathomable. Last year on September 27, the day he died, it hit me that he had been gone longer than we had known each other and I felt such grief again. Every once in a while I get hit by that bus and need my Michael to remind me that life is for the living.
Today Michael has a little color back in his face. He will spend his day eating healthy foods and trying to get his energy back , so he can go back to work tomorrow. He is sitting on the couch with his coffee, sipping slowly, drinking in the morning's news. Every now and then I hear him cough hard and my skin breaks into goosebumps. I then hear him burp and laugh at himself and I smile, amused at how he is able to keep himself so entertained.
I told him yesterday after his fever broke how scared I got because he was sick. I laid my head on his chest and felt his heartbeat next to my ear. Michael reaches for my hand and once again , like he has a million other times before, he promises to never leave me. Today we both feel a little better and tomorrow will show continued improvement. That's all one can hope for in the end anyway, isn't it?