Waiting for the Future to Arrive

After my husband rolled out of bed and onto the floor–a loud thunk at 3:00 a.m.–time moved quickly. Paramedics. Hospital. Unfolding diagnosis: Looks like a stroke. Definitely a stroke. Massive stroke. Decision: No dooming him to a future without movement or speech, without the ability to appreciate sci-fi and Mozart and spring.

Then the waiting began. His brain took its sweet time to ease into the complete and irreversible loss of function necessary for organ donation. In truth it was only days, but each one felt endless. I sat alone. I sat with family and friends. I walked the hospital hallways, trying to create to-do lists through my gray cloud of trauma. Call lawyer. Pick up healthcare directive. Change life plans. I sat some more. Waiting became a way station, a stopping off point where I sat and watched for the arrival of a future I did not want.

Eventually, the spark that was him officially died. On that final day, I shooed away the visitors, closed the curtains in his ICU room and pulled out the CD player I brought from home. We listened to music from his exquisite collection. We talked. (Okay, I talked, but I like to think that, …

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