The vacant pillow

Being a weekend and not wanting to navigate the emergency room drama we sat quietly at home waiting for the chest pain, arm pain, and breathing to normalize. We had been here twelve years ago, and as time passed things returned to normal. Twenty minutes later when it happened again we decided to make the trek to the hospital and navigate the potential cardiac event we were confronted with. Once in the que in emergency, information steadily came in confirming a heart event and moved us along through the process. EKG’s, Chest X-rays, blood work and being moved up to the cardiac care floor all brought reality face to face with life and death. It wasn’t until I got in bed at midnight that I had time to reflect on all of the events taking place. It was the two empty pillows next to me that brought it home. There was a possibility that tomorrow and the days, months and years to come those pillow would forever remain vacant. Our life of over 40 years together would be ended as I currently know it.

Now we all know how once we get the idea started it can move into uncharted territory and move into big and scary places. I went right to the idea of how everything we have in our house and even our life was and is a manifestation of both of us, our thoughts, ideas and dreams. How difficult it would be to navigate my very home everyday, and how would I manage? I thought, I might need to move, or to sleep in a different room for a while, or obviously get some cleaning help (for those of you who know Nancy, lol) It wasn’t until 3 am that this thinking finally stopped as I was blasted out of my funk by the telephone saying her EKG’s were unstable and they were taking her down for an angiogram. I knew what that meant and was there before they could get her down from her floor. It was close to 5am when I returned home with the information on her actual situation, and feeling more comfortable with no stents, surgery etc. and the outcome being good.

I’ve had my grandparents and parents die, and work with families everyday going through similar spousal losses, but when it happens to you it’s different. While I know a-lot about it, having heard hundreds of similar stories and witnessing the struggle with loss, I, for a few moments in time was lost in that possibility too. The real life experience bringing things to a very basic level, things often taken for granted now my biggest obstacles. As well versed as I am in loss and grief, I’m really glad I didn’t have to go home to a vacant pillow this time.

“Blessings on your journey”

If your interested in more insight into these ideas and others relating to transformational change in life you can purchase a copy of my book “Living and Dying” from my website at

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