Thursday, January 28, 2010

2 days. It’s incredible how much change 2 days can bring.

My first memory of David was at a card party. I had seen him before at the airport (we were both independent taxi-cab owner-operators), but had never talked to him. There was something about him, dark curly hair, mustache, low voice, that just struck me, and I thought ‘I would like to get to know him better.’ Did I pursue him? You bet I did. I was in love with him (love or lust, what’s the difference when you’re in your 20s). In the next weeks and months, we got to know each other and went on dates, and had a very brief fling, but he decided he was still in love with his former girlfriend, so he broke it off, and we moved on. I was rear-ended one day sitting in the cab line and that kind of did my full-time driving days in because of whiplash injuries. I leased a cab part-time, which made for some pretty lean days. So when David, who had quit driving to take a job as a cab-starter (when people came out of the airport looking for a cab, his job was to ask them their destination and he would direct them to the proper cab) asked if I wanted a job as an assistant starter, I jumped at the offer.

Over the next couple of years, we got to be friends, and then best friends, and then started going on dates again, and ended up living together and then getting married. I can honestly say I married my best friend. He was kind, generous and so funny then.

9 years ago, the company he worked for was bought by a big company. They installed a computer dispatching system, waited a week to make sure it was working, and laid off all of the senior dispatchers. No severance pay, no 2 week notice, nothing. David was devastated. Personal demons (he is the 3rd sibling out of 7 to die of alcohol abuse) and the bottle took that funny, caring, wickedly-witted man away from me, and 2 days ago death took what was left of him.

When they took him off of the ventilator, his heart so very gradually started to slow down. We all just stared at that monitor. I would close my eyes and pray over and over for strength to endure this, and open my eyes to look at the monitor. It went down into the 40s and then the 30s, and then the 20s. So very, very, very gradually. I couldn’t understand why we can take a dog or a cat to a vet when we know that death is imminent and have them given a shot to hurry their passing, but we can’t do that with people. More crying and praying over and over for endurance. Then his heart went to 19, then it started to go up, and up into the 40s and 50s. There was that little surge of hope, that maybe they were wrong. Into the 60s... and then to 0.

I have so much guilt to contend with. His daughter was up yesterday and I sent his computer home with her. I put pots of tulips in its place. I cleaned off the shelf where he had his cigarettes and telephone, feeling guilty that I was somehow wiping him out of my life. There’s a bag of tacos in the refrigerator that he bought last week. For some reason, I can’t throw them away.

I miss him so much. I miss the man that he used to be.

When Lukas was born, it was a horribly horrendous time (he was 4-6 weeks overdue). The local hospital and doctor botched up so bad that the nurses at NICU in St. Paul, which is where Lukas was taken after he was born, would tick off on their fingers what should have been done and hadn’t been. One of them told me I had to do something about them (that wasn’t the first time they had screwed up, which I didn’t know at the time). Lukas spent a month in intensive care down there. He has epilepsy and cerebral palsy. He’s gone through 7 operations to keep him out of a wheelchair. The only way that I could cope with all of it was by burying memories. I decided I needed to do that once when Lukas was a baby, and I was going over and over in my mind some of the things of when he was in the hospital. I was driving and crying and wanted so bad to go 100 mph and drive my car into a tree. So living just in the moment is a form of self-preservation for me. That’s one of the reasons I blog and keep a diary. So all of these things in my life are somewhere besides a deep hole in my mind.

Last night I decided I need to do some mental digging. All I have of David are recent things, of anger and bitterness. I need to dig and find those happy memories, and I’m going to write them down here. It’s a coping mechanism for me.

Don’t anyone pity me. I know, as much as I know that the sun is coming up tomorrow, that the next thing that David knows will be the resurrection. Right now he is a memory in God’s mind. (Quick history lesson: The common belief of a soul that separates from the body after death is not a Bible teaching [Google nephesh]. That is Greek philosophy that crept into Hebrew doctrine when the Greeks expanded their empire into the middle east. It didn’t become a Christian doctrine until a couple of hundred years after Christ died). After Armageddon, death is done away with. That’s when the resurrection begins, as Paul wrote in Acts 24:15, of the righteous and the unrighteous, and not in heaven, as Christian church doctrine teach, but on earth, as the Bible teaches (2 Peter 3:13, Psalms 37:29, Isaiah 65:17-25 are just a few out of the many scriptures that tell about this). At that point David will wake up in a re-created body, young and healthy and happy, and he won’t have to watch Lukas ever suffer through another seizure or operation, because Lukas will be in the same condition, healthy and whole. He will be able to find things to do that will bring him happiness without destroying his body and mind.


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