Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Faith comes with unlocking the door
I won't admit this to him, but I have to run an errand and I'm afraid to leave my husband home alone. You see, on Sunday night, he suffered a minor (thank God) heart attack. We went back and forth for a couple of hours before he finally agreed to go the hospital.
Before we left, during the ER visit, upon hearing the diagnosis "heart attack," and after his admittance, I remained stoic. The last thing he needed was for me to be upset. So I remained calm, acting as if he'd done nothing more than cut his finger and needed a stitch or two.
Finally, around 3:30 a.m., I left the hospital and drove home. It wasn't until I was safely in the privacy of my own home did I break down, with guttural sounds emerging from a place deep inside of me. I frightened the cats.
You see, this wasn't the first time I've left a husband alone at the hospital. But the last time, my first husband never returned. He died there in 1989.
And it wasn't the first time a man I loved was in the heart wing at the hospital. My dad suffered two major heart attacks when I was 7 years old. He was given 5 years to live, but continually shocked the medical community as he survived heart attack after heart attack during an 18 year stretch. It was his fourteenth heart attack that killed him. He was found on the floor of the kitchen. He'd been eating toast.
I grew up with fear deep in my heart. Often, as a child and teenager, I dreaded unlocking the door and going inside my home, scared I would find him dead. There were so many ambulances and code blues and hospitalizations that it became the norm for me. Even after I moved 250 miles away, I still tensed when I heard an ambulance, thinking it was my dad on the way to the hospital again.
It's hard to let go of that kind of learned fear. It became a part of me. It was who I was. My first marriage, which only lasted 8 years, was filled with worry and fear. I was terrified that my husband was going to die. And then he did, a mere seven years after my dad died.
"See," my psyche told me, "they all die. The men who are important to you die. Expect it."
Then I married Bill, a man with a Type A personality like my dad's; a man who was 10 years older than me. And the fear bubbled up and almost drowned me. Eventually, however, I chose to change, to let go of worry, to not live in fear.
But in the early morning hours of February 2nd, the fear fountain was tapped once again. No one saw it. No one heard my cries. Except for God, of course, who held me in His arms and let me cry.
Today, my husband is home with me. He's retelling his story over and over on the phone with friends and relatives, who are all relieved that he is going to be just fine. We caught it early. It's treatable. And chances are good, this husband will outlive me.
Today, I am grateful for praying friends and strangers who took a little bit of time to ask God for healing and for peace. God answered the prayers and I cannot thank Him enough.
So, as I run my errand, I'll keep reminding myself of all that transpired, and I won't let fear bubble up as I return and put my key into the lock. Everything will be just fine.