Posted on Apr 7, 2014 in Blog |

From my latest column at Women’s Voices magazine:

When our son Stephen got into the car from school each day, he was quick to tell me the worst part of his day. It often involved another student making fun of him or not doing something the teacher wanted them to do. Stephen was an ardent rule-follower, so when someone else broke the rules, it was quite disturbing to Stephen.

Almost as a self defense mechanism, I started asking Stephen, “What was the BEST part of your day?” He would think hard with the initial answers usually being “lunch” or “recess.” When I started ruling those options out, he looked more closely at his interactions with others. And eventually, he started finding more “best parts” of his day.

When I started treatment for advanced Lyme disease, there were days and weeks that were absolutely miserable. Stephen would come home and ask me how my day was, and I immediately went to the worst of my day. With a small grin on his face, he would ask, “Well, then what was the BEST part of your day?”

The student had become the teacher.

For my birthday last month, I didn’t do anything in particular. But the best part of my day was eating lunch with my husband and two employees. The food was delicious, but it was the time we spent laughing, talking, and connecting that made it really special.

Two days after my birthday, I watched my 58 year old husband Jeffrey endure a heart attack. For 36 hours we went from a little cough to bronchitis, to a possible pulmonary embolism, to a heart attack, to a heart attack and a blood clot, to the catheterization lab where they placed four stents, three of which are in the “widowmaker” artery.

The weird part of this is that throughout the entire crisis, I was the calm one.

Let me rephrase that.

After I watched him have the heart attack, with his blood pressure up at 213/175, and thinking he would die at that very moment; AFTER that, I was overcome with the most mysterious but completely grounded confirmation that everything was going to be ok.

I took each hour of the crisis as it came, looking no further, and not worrying. I was calm, reassuring, and I even tried to make Jeffrey laugh. Family and friends were offering to come to the hospital, and I politely refused, because I knew it was going to be ok, and there was nothing anyone could do.

Jeff didn’t want any visitors, and I truly only wanted to be with him. It wasn’t that desperate “I need to be with you” feeling. It was that “I am so in love with you I can’t imagine where else I would be right now” feeling.

Jeff’s adult daughter Heather came to visit the first night he was hospitalized, because she is the type who needs to see her daddy, hug him, and hold him. She was very frightened; rightfully so. He had just escaped death. The second day, Stephen arrived at the hospital from college and Heather returned.

Once we talked to the cardiologist, heard the results of the catheterization, knew what lay ahead, and the multiple inexplicable “rarities” (aka miracles) that had occurred, we all cried a few tears of relief and gratitude.

Two days after the heart attack started, after having four stents implanted, Jeffrey was home, lying in bed next to me, holding my hand, snuggling with me. He is my best friend and husband of 23 years.

I realized that every moment, every single moment I have with him . . . that is the best part of my day. The best part of any of my days is the time I spend with him.

It is the moment when our love tangibly connects, reaching new heights and growing more deeply than before. This love I have for Jeffrey is wider, further reaching, deeper, and thicker than ever.

We have had many trials through 23 years: almost losing a child, different parenting styles, chronic illness, life threatening illnesses for our parents, and death of a nephew by suicide. But through each trial has come triumph.

And more love.

Love always wins.

Love always conquers (if we allow it).

Love is always the answer, no matter the question.

When we have loved and connected with another person, that loving connection is the best part of any and every day.