Hey Babe -
To be honest, it’s still kinda feels strange and surreal that you’re dead. Three months have passed, and you still don’t feel any deader today than when it happened (I know I say this a lot, but this is just how I feel), even after knowing what caused your death. It still feels unreal and even more unfathomable. Has it helped?! No, but the mystery that once surrounded me has lifted; making me realize and believe with greater conviction all the things I’ve always believed in life. Life is precious and fragile. It can be taken away from you in an instant, without any rhyme or reason. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so live the best life you can and make the most out of the life you are given. Live it openly. Live it freely. Live without abandon. Live without regrets. Live for no one else but yourself. Live and move to the beat of your own drum and always remain true to yourself and your beliefs. Life is short, and when it’s your time to go, you go. There’s no second chances or undo button when you’re dead. There’s no coming back. There’s no more ‘one more time’ of anything. Death is final. Death is absolute. Death is the greatest equalizer in life; it sees no skin color, creed, or status. Death is unbiased, merciless, and unrelenting. Death is imminent and the only guarantee in life. Nobody can escape death when it comes knocking on your door, not even the rich and powerful.
Looking back at the sequence of events leading up to your death, it’s crazy to think how tiny, little, inconsequential decisions and things that were seemingly insignificant could lead to this major, profound, and tragic ending. The signs were very subtle and minimal. We probably wouldn’t even think twice about them if you were still alive. They were so minor that even when you said, “Hey Babe, look at my leg. It’s swollen!” when we woke up one morning that my response to you was, “I can’t even tell.” (It was so insignificant that I can’t even remember what day it was.) We both just went on with our daily life and routine like any other day because it’s unfathomable that a road rash sustained from a minor motorcycle accident could turn fatal after a little swelling and shortness of breath! How can a road rash that both the ER doctor and your primary care physician examined multiple times and told you to apply Neosporin and wrap with gauze turn into deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that led to pulmonary embolism (PE) and your sudden and unexpected death. The Wednesday before you passed, you told me you were having a hard time breathing and was leaving work early. I thought you were going to the hospital, so I left work early and called to find out which hospital you were going to, but you said you were at home. Even though I asked you to go to the hospital to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious like your heart or lungs, you assured me it was just the bruise boning of your sternum and didn’t think going to the hospital was necessary. I didn’t even push you to go to the doctor like I normally would since you looked completely normal when I came home that Wednesday. You even carried a big, heavy box of duraflame logs into the house without any issues. I don’t even know if the doctors would have diagnosed that you were at risk of PE if you went to the hospital that Wednesday. You ended up staying home from work for the rest of the week, and we even ran errands for the home renovations on the Friday and Saturday before you passed. When we were at the appliance store on Friday, you had a hard time standing for along time, so you went to sit down when I was finalizing the appliance purchase. I asked again if you wanted to go to the hospital but you said no. I’m sure the painkillers you were taking probably masked a lot of the signs and symptoms also. (I remember when I had ear surgery in college, I was allergic to the antibiotics the doctor prescribed, but I didn’t show any allergy symptoms until I stopped taking the painkillers.) Who would have thought a road rash that started to heal and scab over could become fatal, even the multiple doctors that examined you said there was no major injuries resulting from the motorcycle accident. They took x-rays and said no broken bones or internal injuries and too apply Neosporin and wrap the road rash with gauze. They never said look for signs of swelling or shortness of breath because it could be PE and turn fatal. I think if they said something like that, we would have taken the subtle signs more seriously than simply blaming the shortness of breath on the bruise boning or taken the minor swelling of your legs more seriously. Even the morning you passed, you said you had a hard time breathing. I asked if you wanted to go to the hospital, and you said no, it passed and you are fine now.
It’s unfathomable to think a seemingly innocuous road rash made me a widow. It’s the reason why I’m on this terrible journey and fending this world alone. It turned my world upside down and robbed me of my entire future. It took away our plans of annoying each other until we were old and gray. Can you believe that?! A seemingly innocuous road rash that was so insignificant and inconsequential that the doctors barely looked at it could lead to such a profound and unimaginably tragic ending to our story. And what’s even more unbelievable is that you started to put on your shin guards before you went riding, but decided against it at the last minute since it was just a short leisurely ride in the hills behind the house; roads you’ve traveled on before with very little car traffic. Your fall was sustained after deciding to go further than you had expected when you leaned too much into a turn that you couldn't correct because you lost traction due to the excessive pine needles on the road. You were only going 20 to 25 MPH, the speed some riders ride on their bikes (not a motorcycle). And, to top it off, you even had new tires for your bike, but kept putting off replacing them for one reason or another (some of which you would blame on me). It just seems so insignificant and inconsequential all the tiny little decisions and sequence of events that happened before your death, that it’s completely unfathomable that they led to your tragic death. We even met with one of my friends, who's a doctor, for lunch, and I told you to have her take a look at your road rash to see if it was healing as expected since you refused to go to the doctor, and you said, “No, I’m not going to make her look at it,” because you wanted to be polite and not bother her.
Looking back now, I can’t help but believe with even greater conviction that you can’t escape death when your time is up. When your card is pulled, your time is up and you have no control whatsoever. There are stories I hear of people surviving multiple heart attacks, cancer, major injuries and accidents that it makes me sick to my stomach that you died with literally no signs or major injuries to even talk about. You were perfectly healthy and showed no signs or symptoms that you were going to drop dead soon. Even the EMT said all your vitals were normal, that there’s nothing wrong with you, and that you were just having a panic attack. They didn’t even want to take you to the hospital, but I told them that right now it looks like a panic attack, but earlier you had a seizure. You even stood up and got on the gurney by yourself; nobody had to carry you. I don’t even think the EMTs were taking the situation seriously when they hauled you into the ambulance.
Yes, I was definitely very upset and mad at you yesterday when I found out. I just couldn’t fathom that you died from a seemingly innocuous road rash. I think we all knew the motorcycle accident had something to do with your death, but it was also hard to believe that a minor motorcycle accident could have such a profound, catastrophic, and tragic ending. That it could rip from me my entire life and rob me of my entire future. AND, to make matters worse, I can’t even yell at you for not listening to me when I asked you to go to the hospital and that I was right again, it might be something more serious than bruised bone. Why didn’t you just listen to me and why didn’t I force you to go to the hospital when you were complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. Why would I pick this one time to not be the naggy and pestering wife. Why? I just don’t get it?! It makes no sense to me at all--none whatsoever. How can I nag you all the time about stupid stuff like putting your shoes away and to stop leaving empty beer bottles and soda cans on the kitchen counter, but I didn’t nag you at all when you didn’t want to go to the hospital. At the end of the day, I could play everything over and over again in my head, and think about all the things we could have done differently, but nothing changes except I make myself mad and you're still dead. I could curse you, the road rash on your knee, the DVT, the PE, and the list goes on and on, but at the end of the day, I just have to accept that you’re not coming home; that your card was pulled and nothing could change your ending because if you were meant to be live, you would still be alive. I just have to accept that’s how life works--it sucks and makes so sense. There’s nothing logical or rational about your death, and I can continue to ask all sorts of questions that might literally drive me insane, but at the end of the day, there’s no answers for any of my questions--none at all. This is a constant reminder of how small we are in the world. We’re just tiny specks in the universe, and we have no control over our fate or destiny. Life continues to move on even when you experience a great and profound loss that defies the natural order of things like losing a spouse or a child at 49 years old. You barely lived ⅔ of your life and was taken suddenly and unexpectedly without any rhyme or reason over a seemingly innocuous road rash! Ironically, you always told me you that you were scared that you would die suddenly and unexpectedly (from an anyersim or something like that), and you always told me to pull the plug if anything like that happened and to cremate you. One thing I have to thank you for is that you saved me the agony and pain of having to make that decision for you--pulling the plug. I don’t know if it would make this journey even more unbearable than it already is--but it’s not something I even want to think about.
P.S. I’m still mad at you, don’t think just because I’m writing you that I’ve forgiven you. Not at all, I’m still trying to figure out my vengeance for when I see you again.
P.S.S. Today was the first day I actually gave one thing of yours away for no reason other than to just give it away. It was a watch I bought you. Originally, I was planning to hold on to since it was the only watch I ever bought for you in all the years we’ve been together. But the more I thought about it--it didn’t make any sense for me to hold on to it. I would never use or wear it. I figured it would get better use with someone else. I’ve also started asking your family if they wanted anything of yours as a remembrance to come get it soon since it’s part of my grieving process. I don’t know if this call to action was a result of learning about your cause of death or if I would drag my feet and take longer than expected but would eventually reluctantly do it at some later point time, but knowing the truth has made my mind clearer. It has validated everything I believe to be true in life and about the situation surrounding your death. No more speculation or mystery or “what if’s”. I tried to hold back the tears when I gave the person your watch, but it was no use. I probably cried for another hour after the person left with your watch. I know it will be hard, but I have to constantly remind myself baby steps. Oh BTW, I finally ate the strawberry haagen-dazs you bought me. What about the ice cream from Fentons you bought me the Monday before you passed?! Well, my brother ate it when he was babysitting me (of course without asking). He did give me one spoonful when I threw a fit about it.
So, to keep a tally of all the things I’ve given away of yours so far:
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.