---Alice Abrams

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Echoes of Death and Loss From August, 2005

August 05, 2005

Missing Him

I have a new image in my mind - one that will always be there; of my daughter on her knees in her closet, holding her husband's baseball cap tightly to her chest, sobbing because his scent still lingers on it, three months after his sudden death. Her 14 year-old son discovers her like that and without a word, wraps his arms around her and tells her it'll be okay.

This is just one of many images that have worked their way into my mind unbidden these past few months since Doug left us. We were in the hospital that horrible night when the doctors, all specialists in their fields, came one at a time to assure us that everything was being done but they had absolutely no idea what was happening but he was crashing and crashing fast. Then they came to tell us he had arrested - then again, then again. It was 5:30 AM Wednesday, April 13th. It would be eight weeks before they could tell us that no, it wasn't the leukemia they thought it was; no, it wasn't bone marrow cancer; no, it wasn't the myriad other diseases they had thought it might have been: it was acute acetaminaphine toxemia. Simply put, he died from too many painkillers.

He was only in his early 30's when he had the first of three hip replacements due to a car accident which caused necrosis in the bone. He lived in a chronic state of pain which led to over-medicating. I see him in the casket - it was a nightmare. This was not was a stranger with the wrong hair style and awful yellow skin. We were all heart sick when we saw him.

But I have another image in my mind: Doug laughing and smiling, joking and making everyone around him want to be with him. I see him snorkeling in Hawaii, taking off camera in hand, identifying all of the fish for us and showing us novices how to keep the masks on. The image that must stay in my mind is Doug out of pain, in Heaven with his Lord. It's the only thing that keeps me sane. Amazing grace, indeed...

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