The Inital Shock (March 21st, 1998)

I never expected when he kissed me goodbye and said "See you at the office" that it would be the last kiss or the last words we shared.

When I pulled in to the office I was greeted with hurry,
he collapsed, we've called 911.

He's on the floor, the first client of the day was a nurse she started CPR. I'm suddenly detached, up against the wall, watching her. I call my daughters and tell them to come right away. Tell the staff to call my sister. The paramedics arrive. The machine is flat line, I know that CPR has gone on for 8 minutes. The paramedic looks up and says, "Well sometimes the machine doesn't register right" Excuse me? I know what a flat line means, this can't be happening.......I ride in the ambulance to the hospital, I have to sit in front.......Why? if I want to be by him, I want to hold his hand and tell him to hang on......and still in my mind knowing he's already gone...........

We arrive and he is immediately taken back and I can't go......how stupid the rules that hospitals have regarding who should be in a room. I don't know how but the waiting room is filled with my sisters and their spouses, my daughters and son-in-laws. Finally the doctor comes out....he says they are working on him....I told him please, he has been over 20 minutes flat lined......don't bring him back to be less than he was, He would never want that.......this brilliant, vital man who has helped so many others....10 minutes later he is gone. We are allowed to go back.........they have the lights off in the room, only the lights from the hallway shine in.......Do they think that is going to make it easier? Oh it hurts so much, to see the pain in everyone's eyes. To see how much it hurts my parents, my daughters pain is more than I can bear.

The phone in the room rings and they hand it to me, it is our doctor calling to say how sorry she is and do I need anything? I remember being so touched by her kindness, making a call on a Saturday morning just to offer support.

I go back to him and hold his hand, his big strong hand that was always so great to hold. I told my girls and my sister to feel his palm it was still so warm and felt like it had so many times before. I didn't want to leave.
But things at the hospital continue to function and we must go.

I barely remember the ride from the hospital back to the office. I think it was my daughter and I. I make it home. The house is filled with family, friends start coming over, people are dropping off food. Phone calls, my step-children will be arriving. The day passes in a blur of love and support and shared memories. My best friend stays the night with me. We are laying in bed and I cry and cry and cry.

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