You never know how it feels to be alive until you know how it feels to die.
I've sang these lines a thousand times while listening to Noah and the Whale in my studio. Until two weeks ago these were just words. The moment I saw my husband hit the highway pavement, his motorcycle still spinning ahead of his limp body, those lyrics became my greatest fear.
Today is day 16 of my husband's recovery at Ben Taub Trauma Center in Houston.
Time is amorphous in the hospital. Foggy days, mixed up nights, stripped of every normal human routine. Our section of a room shared with three other patients has no window. Minutes dissolve into hours and drain away the days. Progress is measured in tubes in and out, x-ray results, and ambulatory devices. We have watched many roommates arrive and go home while we remain. Bunking with people with whom our paths would least likely cross, we all ride the roller coaster together. And perhaps most of us are better because of it.
In a trauma hospital there are few illness patients. Our roommates have been shot, run over, stabbed and involved in horrific accidents. Police officers sit outside many rooms waiting for the accused to heal and to take victim statements. There are those in grave condition and those with mere wounds requiring a one night stay. Some we have befriended through the curtains, others we couldn't wait to see discharged. Though we are a truly diverse group, we share common bonds of pain and healing.
I have met two other women tending their husbands, remaining at the bedside to give comfort: one Asian, one Hispanic. We don't speak the same language but we communicate through our expressions. Looks of fear, worry, relief and sadness are universal and within these facial cues we lend one another support. Through the curtain we hear each other's cries, the sighs of relief, and laughter. I know these women are like me refusing to leave the loves of our lives. Over the weeks we have learned basic greetings in each other's dialect. We offer awkward hugs sometimes misread between cultures but in our need to not be alone we have found each other.
Life changed without warning two weeks ago. I feel I've lived a lifetime in between then and now. My husband is healing and soon we hope to go home, to regain a sense of truly living, to feel the sun escort the true hours of each day. Life will never be the same. In fact I believe it will be a more authentic, more tolerant, more understanding, more loving life.
LOVE & HEALING