As we sit in the gastroenterology office today waiting on Chris' appointment, an old lady wheeled up her little scooter next to me. Huffing away at her oxygen bottle, she struck up a conversation with me about how she needed some fresh air since she was falling asleep. I always listen to my elders no matter how small the conversation. After all one never knows what piece of advice they may have to offer.
She informed me it may be a while since they have been running behind all day. Her husband was in for a procedure. Patiently she had been waiting for him. The conversation had moved to why we were there, as I explained it was for my husband. At first she had assumed it was for me. I guess I didn't look to good with my anticipation on what Chris' diagnosis was going to be. ( I know gastroenterology all to well with my own set of troubles many years back. ) We then exchanged a few qualms about husbands, and how she has been married for 56 years. Her husband is at the beginning stages of dementia. One could see the frustration and pain that is starting to eat at her. Him not remembering the simplest of things, constantly reminding him, and his worries eating him whole as his mind clings to one thought at a time. I joke that even when they are a pain in our ass we still love them (Pun totally intended). Then lovingly she said she could not imagine life without him. He was one of the last Navy Seals to leave Vietnam, she stated. As the thoughts of our years of marriage and our deployments through war times flooded my emotions, Chris was called. I stopped my thoughts, and told her to keep keeping on.
I tried to stop those thoughts. Tuck them away in their compartment. One should never let those thoughts surface, because they make you vulnerable to the weakness of tears. I have come across many veterans in my travels, and always when I least expect it. Their stories stick with me, and sometimes haunt me. Even though there are so many years apart we share a common bond. The Military Life. These stories have given me goose bumps. Especially, when I have been in a similar situations and can empathize with them. Put myself in their shoes. I try not too, but sometimes it can not be helped. My own military life story gives me chills when I actually stop to think about it, and sometimes I can not help but wonder how the hell I got through it. Then I look at my husband and think no matter how bad it has ever been we have made it through. Together, and have become stronger because of it. I could not imagine life without him. Even when he is a pain in my ass.
We finished up in the office, and stopped by the lab for some fallow up blood work. It was pretty empty, only a handful of people for a change. After Chris walked in back to be sucked dry by the vampires, I tried to take a deep breath and just be. About that time the little old lady in her scooter came down the hall. Her husband in tow, one hand on her seat hanging on like a crutch. She got their ticket for line, and their number was called promptly. He couldn't find his wallet, and she panicked that he may have misplaced it but found it in her basket. The clerk helped them, and sent him to the back for his labs. She wheeled her chair back as he walked up to the door. Once at the door he turned around, looking lost he couldn't remember why he was there. She kindly reminded him of the next step. When he did that step, her hands braced her face as she took a deep breath. The frustration of a long day was beginning to set in. I watched silently and was trying to bring my words to the surface when Chris walked out. She noticed him and asked how he was with a perk in her voice. Like she had seen a familiar face that she hadn't seen in a long time. As I stood to meet him she noticed me, and Chris replied with a little small talk as he headed toward the hall. Her face went a little pale as she looked at me, and said "They found cancer". Instantly I felt her pain. Knowing how anxious she was in the waiting room at the clinic, and then to hear her fear had come to light. I was struggling for the right words. I gave her a hug, and told her to keep being strong. I caught up with Chris, and tried to hold back the tears that welled up in my eyes without him seeing. I failed.
To think enduring such great challenges throughout life with someone for 56 years, and then to start losing them slowly. It struck a cord with me today. I do not want to waste any more time on senseless bull shit. Life is much to short to not forgive mistakes and move forward. This journey is about learning, and making it through the tough stuff together. Even thought we can be a pain in each others asses, I could not imagine life with out Chris.