Seventy-seven days. Eleven weeks. That’s how long it was this Friday. It’s hard to believe it has been that long. Greg passed away on a Friday night, and every week on Friday, I can’t help but replay the events of the night of his passing in my mind. I always say to Kayla, “___ days”, and she says, “Yeah.” She knows exactly what I’m referring to. She’s like me, and replays things in her mind every Friday as well.
Friday night is a night that my family looks forward to, and it’s different from any other night of the week. We make our homemade pizza and enjoy each other’s company. Now, making pizza takes me back to that night. The night of December 10th, the kids and I had planned to make gingerbread houses. Our elves on the shelf, Charlie and Candy, had left a gingerbread house kit, and the kids had been begging to put them together all week. I promised them it would happen on Friday night.
We had finished dinner and were getting started with the gingerbread houses. Just as all the supplies were out, I got a phone call. It was from an unfamiliar number, but I felt like I needed to answer it. It was a police officer. This was confusing and disorienting. She told me that my husband had collapsed at the church (he was at his cousin’s ward Christmas party), and his heart and breathing had stopped. There were doctors there, and they were able to get him breathing again. The ambulance was there, and they were going to take him to the hospital. I tried to explain vEDS, and the police officer repeated what I was saying to the paramedics. I wished I was there. I asked the police officer if she could talk to Greg about his vEDS. She paused and told me that he wasn’t able to talk.
I hung up, and the kids were all looking at me with concerned looks on their faces. They had overheard enough to get an idea of what had happened. I knew I needed to get to the hospital quickly, but I also didn’t want to leave the kids alone in such a stressful time. I called my parents, and they agreed to come. It would be about 30 minutes until they could get to the kids, but the kids said that was okay.
The moments at the hospital are both clear and hazy. I remember things clearly, but I also question the accuracy of my memory. I was grateful Greg’s cousin and her husband met me at the hospital so I wasn’t alone. When I told the front desk at the ER who I was, they took us into a private waiting room. That should have been my first clue that something was seriously wrong, but for some reason, it didn’t ring any alarm bells. The surgeon peeked his head in with a sad look in his eyes. It had only been a few minutes. He should be working on Greg, not talking to me. I shot a glance at Greg’s cousin. I knew this wasn’t good. He came and sat next to me and put his hand on my leg. He then told me the news. It was surreal to hear the words. I was given the chance to see Greg. I didn’t want to, but I was afraid I would regret it later. I walked in the room while holding Greg’s cousin’s hand. I deeply regretted seeing him for over a week, as Greg’s body on the table was the first thing that I saw when I closed my eyes to try to sleep for quite some time. Now, I wish I had spent more time with him. It’s interesting how time changes things.
I got home and the gingerbread houses were together. Things had been cleaned up thanks to my parents. I don’t know if we can ever make gingerbread houses again without thinking of that night. I gathered my kids together, and simply said, “He died.” I probably could have done better, but that’s all that came out. They had a variety of reactions, some loud and some quiet. It took a long time to get everyone to sleep. I never went to sleep. Sleep was impossible. I couldn’t stop crying.
Every week, things get a little more distant and my perspective changes a bit. I imagine that soon these thoughts and memories will be brought on by the month marks, and then maybe yearly. Friday now feels different than other nights of the week for more reasons than our homemade pizza nights. I wonder how long that will be the case.