Last Wednesday I looked in her eyes when she looked up at me, knew me, knew where my husband had laid his head, and took the posters with a smile. I went up two more floors and as I cried explaining what I was holding in my hand. He seemed to recognize, to know. When she came to take the item in my hand she knew me, immediately. No delay, complete understanding of my emotional breakdown.
Wednesday evening I willingly entered the local hospital. The hospital where my husband spent weeks on life support, where he went undiagnosed for too long a time, where he bled out, was shocked back to life, was kept alive by tubes. These are not pleasant memories.
I entered those doors only two times since Kevin died: once to visit my Mother, and once to visit my Father, both for cancer related surgeries. With my Father I entered the IICU floor where Kevin spent much of his time in the beginning of his disease. The staff there remember me. So much so that when they found out I was my father’s daughter, who was also on the IICU after his surgery, they came to give me hugs and share their memories of Kevin’s spirit.
So why did I willingly go back to face that sad demon? To enter a hospital I don’t trust, one who I feel holds part of the blame for such a difficult journey? I originally went to hand out posters for the upcoming Lancaster Barnstormers Sarcoma Awareness Night that I organized for July 16th. I knew the staff on each of the floors Kevin spent time, both IICU and Oncology, would want to know about the event. I knew that they continued to remember Kevin, our story. I knew this, but still, when I looked in their eyes last Wednesday I saw the recognition and was taken aback that our story could leave such an impact nearly 3 years later.
When I returned to the hospital again that very evening to visit a friend I walked out a bit stronger. When I left the first time, I was in sobs. When I left the second, I had found a peace. I had found a touch of forgiveness in the eyes of the nurses who had cared for Kevin. I was able to let go of a burden I held onto since those first few days when Kevin was there, when we had no diagnosis and no idea of our future. I knew that the staff had done what they could with what they had. I knew that Kevin had impacted their lives in such a way that other lives would benefit. I knew I could forgive.