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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A True Love Story Part V

The nurse came in and slowly moved me away from the bed to check for any sign of life. Without a word she exited the room looking for the doctor on call. He entered with the nurse. They both checked for signs of life.
The doctor slowly turned, looked me in the eye, placed his hand on my right shoulder and said the words with as much compassion as possible, “I’m very sorry. She's gone.” I digested his words and began understanding the depth of our love. My heart didn’t break; it literally shattered into a million pieces. I turned towards Cathey and collapsed into her arms, crying uncontrollably.
Our thirty-year love affair was over.


Postscript: Seven years ago, today, I kissed her for the last time.I appreciate all the heartfelt comments from friends and family. Many tell me how sorry they are for the loss.For me, what would have been worse was hearing about through a text, email or at a reunion that she had died.And then finding out that I passed her house every time I went to Tulsa would have been unbearable. We were given a second chance to finish what we started thirty years ago. For that, I will always be grateful.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A True Love Story Part IV

Something had changed. There was something in the air which didn’t feel right. I hurried back into the hospital. The elevator took an eternity to reach the third floor. I rushed down the hallway with a sense of urgency and hesitancy. I entered the room; Cathey was standing to the left of the bed. She asked how I was. I never responded. Her labored breathing had stopped. “Cathey, how long has she been like this?” She heard the concern in my voice and saw the look of worry on my face. She moved closer to the bed; put her fingers on Debbie's right wrist checking for a pulse. She wanted to believe she felt one. I laid my hand on her warm chest; it wasn’t moving. The pain in her face was starting to subside. I believe Cathey said she was going to get a nurse. All I could do was rub her chest and stroke her hair. Tears started falling from my eyes.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A True Love Story Part III

Debbie is in good hands with the aide. I decided to get some air, purchase a coke and have a cigarette. I went to the store with one thought running through my mind, Is there anything else I can do for her?  Had I done everything I could for the “love of my life”? Would God sit by her side and let her live out her life on earth or whisper in her ear, take her hand, and guide her to heaven? I had no control over what was happening to her.

Cathey arrived at the hospital room at 8:50am. She’d been detained by her hubby who was coming home from Alaska after a three-month tour with the railroad. She called looking for me. I told her I was downstairs having a smoke but would be up in a few minutes. She said Deb is doing fine. My gut told me different.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A True Love Story: Part II

July 20th, 2009 7:00 am I held her hand and kissed her face with the arrival of a sunny beautiful morning, hoping for a miracle. The shift change was in full swing. Staff checking in, charts being reviewed, doctors and nurses exchanging information; vital signs being verified. Debbie’s breathing is labored as it had been for the last twenty four hours. I never knew if each breath would be her last. The cancer is running its course through her beautiful body at a terrible pace. An aide came in to change the sheets and clean her up. She asked if I would like her to wash Debbie's hair. I pondered the thought for a minute looking at the love of my live and replied in a hushed, choked tone, “She would like that. How long will it take you to change her bed and wash her hair?” She said about fifteen minutes. I stepped out of the room and called her friend Cathey to get an estimated time of arrival. She assured me she would be at the hospital within thirty minutes.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A True Love Story

I not only believe in true love, I was able to experience it twice. Once in high school and then thirty years later. Our second chance together only lasted seven months as her breast cancer returned and took her life. This is our story:

Where Have You Gone?

I remember those carefree days,
The girlish happy smile,
The  days of high school,
Where only our love mattered.
The bus rides to the games and back,
Trips to the river bridge where our thoughts were one,
The nights filled of passion in the truck,
The moonlight dancing off our sweat covered bodies.

Our paths parted in a sea of tears,
The hurt, the pain of the past,
Always just under the surface,
A flash of sunlight, a familiar smile met with pain and hostility.
The smile vanishes, the pain and hurt boil up,
Yet the feelings of love never lost only suppressed,


A trip to Tulsa,
A business card in a mailbox,
A phone call two weeks later and the past awakens,
The smile, the pain, the hurt, the memories;
pour in like a raging river out of its' banks.
Is it worth the chance?
Is it worth opening the heart again?
Is it worth another trip to the unknown?

The smile is the same,
The feelings of love spring up,
The past is forgotten,
The present and future are all that matter,
Or is it?

Seven months of life together,
We laugh, we cry, we love;
chasing children, sharing their lives,
Strawberry shake in the face,
Movies from a Galaxy long ago,
Steaks, chicken and seasonings,
grilled to perfection with love.

A snowball fight,
A walk in the white soft flakes,
A pause on the sidewalk,
We embrace, kiss long and deep
letting our bodies provide the warmth.

The diagnosis, it's back.
Consoling the daughters,
A call to the parents,
A call to the EMT'S,
The present and the future are slipping away.

The final hours of life,
Only the sounds of deep painful breathing.
The halls are silent,
Nothing but thoughts for thirty years circle.
The end is closing in,
The cancer is tracking its' deadly course.

A warm hand rubs a chest going cold,
The breathing has stopped.
The pain is flowing out of her face.
The Doctor comes in,
The verdict is quiet with compassion,
I'm so sorry, she's gone.
Where have you gone?

Life has come to a stop,
There is nothing that matters anymore.
A never forgotten love has been taken in the prime of life,
A bench in a cemetery with no one else around.

The tears pour uncontrollably,
We cry, “Where have you gone?”
A voice, soft and tender floats down,
“I'm fine.”
“Where have I gone?”
“Where there is no pain, no sadness."
"A place where the cancer has healed."
A place where mistakes of the past have been forgiven,
A place where I can look down to watch and help."
"A place where only love resides,
The place?"
"Heaven, that, is where I have gone.”