A year ago today, the historian had come out of major surgery by just a few days. And a few weeks before that, doctors had discovered the aneurysm on the ascending aorta. Those doctors found the blood clots on his lungs, and luckily also saw that atypical and dangerous ballooning.
A year ago, he was in and out of the Surgical ICU. A year ago, I was driving to the hospital and spending my days and evenings there. I was trying to arrive early, early, so I could catch the surgeon on his grand rounds. The historian was trying his best to sleep in the hospital. He was making excellent use of his incredible patience, which was tested to its very limits and beyond. I remember how much he hated that hospital food. I remember bringing him ice cream.
Every day since then, just about, I look at him and his good health, and I am so grateful. I'm grateful for the way he's lived his life, for the fact that, despite blood clots and an aneurysm, his heart was and is in great shape. I'm grateful for the energy and life that rebounded in him. For the walks we take with the dog. For the way he wakes up with the sun. For the places we've been since the surgery and the recovery, and for the fact that we could go and see them together.
Sometimes, when I'm driving east, I remember all those drives I took after the equinox, and the light that lessened every day as I drove home. I remember leaving the hospital when it was dark and finding my car parked by itself in the garage. I remember my son in Arizona calling me so we could talk while I drove home. How all of our children came to the hospital to visit and otherwise check in on both of us. How my youngest son walked Bruiser and looked after me.
Now, it's fall, the exact same time of year. The light diminishes every day. Now, I can look back on that time, and remember, and feel the great difference between then and now; although those memories are woven in now, maybe for good, so that this light recalls that light, and everything else that came with it. All the healing thereafter, until here we are, about to go out with Bruiser again, and I am so glad.