On November 17, 2010, my husband, John, died of a heart attack. One minute he was laughing with friends and the next minute he was dead.
I was driving towards downtown Indy when I got a call saying there had been an accident in front of our houseboat on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky and they were working on John. I jumped on I65 South with the single focus of getting to him.
My phone lit up with calls from concerned loved ones; but the call from the hospital came 20 miles south of Indy, “We’re sorry but there was nothing more we could do.”
Forces beyond me took over driving my car, getting me safely off the interstate and parked at a gas station. I exited my car screaming hysterically to perfect strangers that the love of my life just died. An angel held me as I shattered, staying with me until my sister arrived.
In the midst of the trauma, I whimpered, wailed, and let out sounds that I had never heard come from a human; and then I heard myself say, “There was nothing left unsaid.” I didn’t know my husband would die so abruptly and there was nothing left unsaid between us. This is the great blessing that continues to sustain me.
20 years ago, we were reluctant and guarded. John used to tease, “How did two mutts like us come together and heal a bunch of sh#%?” We were astonished at how our love washed away the wounds of the past, lifted us to heights unknown before, and made safe space for truth to come forward. I am grateful that I knew how to appreciate all of who he was and how he showed up for life. I learned to love the idiosyncrasies that could make me crazy as well as the things that were easy to adore. It was an exchange of mutual admiration because we really liked each other as human beings. We were friends. We were lovers. We were partners on this journey. There is no one else that I would want to be in a foxhole with more than John because I trusted him with my life and he trusted me. We learned to share not just our hopes but were vulnerable enough to share our greatest fears.
We give our hearts and risk it all for the adventure of couplehood. This is such a bold act of sincere bravery. The heart chooses and won’t be silenced, compelling us to throw caution to the wind in favor of the potential hatching from within us. How alive loving another makes us. Nothing enlivens us more than loving. Writing this, my heart widens causing physical sensations that know this truth intimately. How grateful I am that this love is still with me even though John is not. There was a merger of my heart with John’s, a melting that sealed the connection that continues to fuel my life. This joy is worth the heartbreak.
What if when it's all said and done, you've left nothing unsaid? Belt it out. Don't hold back. Let it rip. No regrets!