...a very important meeting occurred.
Six years ago.
At the Elephant Bar.
It changed my life.
In the best possible way.
I'm not kidding.
It was my Last First Date.
And the beginning of Something Amazing.
The page above is the cover of a binder full of our emails back and forth in the early months. We traded some cute and clever remarks, told our best stories, revealed our proudest accomplishments and, in the interest of full disclosure, revealed our fears and failings and inadequacies, too.
We did not know right away that it would be our Last First Date, but two years (and lots of miles) later, it was abundantly clear that living in two separate households was really silly because we just wanted to be together. All. The. Time.
Right after we combined households, the Fates tested our resolve.
One August evening as I was nearing the freeway exit to Home,
a semi-truck rear-ended my tiny Toyota. I saw it coming but was powerless to evade because traffic was slowing/stopping for roadwork ahead. The impact was violent, pushing my car into the pickup ahead and propelling that pickup into the vehicle ahead of it.
Miraculously, I was only slightly injured, but that was not clear when I tried three times, unsuccessfully, to dial 911 on my cell phone. In frustration, I quit trying and called Daryl. He answered. I told him my arm hurt pretty bad, but if he could just come so I could see him it would give me comfort and courage. I thought the scene was within a mile of the exit and directed him to park and run up to where I was.
At great expense to his own health, I'm quite sure.
But that part comes later.
The scene was significantly further than a mile from the exit.
I was removed from the vehicle by firefighters and transported by ambulance to the hospital for examination. No broken bones. No lacerations. A pretty good bump on the head. Some abrasions on the skin where the seatbelt cut into my hip and some on my chest from the air bags. My right elbow really hurt, so they put my arm in a sling and told me to take ibuprofen to treat the inflammation.
I had to stay home from work for a week, but then I was back
to an anxiety-filled commute 90 miles twice a day. I was told it could take about a year for the PTSD to resolve; it took a little longer.
As Fate would have it, a dramatic turn of events
was about to focus my attention in another direction.
A routine physical for Daryl eventually led to examination by a cardiologist who ordered an angiogram based upon some troubling data from a series of diagnostic tests. So on a lovely September morning a few weeks after the wreck, we headed to the hospital prepared to spend a few hours there for the procedure, and I joked with Daryl as we held hands walking in from the parking lot about how we would pick up videos on the way home so he could occupy himself with something other than yardwork for the weekend.
Less than two hours later, while Daryl was still feeling the affects of anesthesia, we were informed the angiogram revealed serious blockage in several arteries, and that triple bypass surgery was required. We shook hands with the surgeon who would perform the open heart surgery and then we were told that Daryl could not be released from hospital
until after the surgery was performed.
This was Friday.
We were stunned.
Phone calls were made. Family rallied around. Surgery was successful. Recovery was long.
For weeks and months I was certain I was about to lose the love of my life. Or lose my own life on the highway.
I'm a little reluctant to tell the details of Daryl's heart surgery (too late?) because it is really his story to tell. But it is a key part of my life story, too.
Here is the point -- in 2008, we took affirmative steps toward
a more perfect union, and Death taunted us.
We faced it.
And we cheated Death in 2008.
Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic, but perhaps not.
We were sure of our commitment to one another
before August 2008. And we are certainly sure of it in 2012.
But one day Death will separate us.
Until then, we will continue to celebrate every
May Day as our lucky day.
Happy May First, My Love.
But watch out for semi-trucks.