My wife died in December 2014 of complications from acute pancreatitis. However, about a year and a half before that, August 2013, she had a massive heart attack.
There were no signs or forewarning symptoms. We had spent the morning shopping and she had just made pasta sauce and finished the laundry. She said she was feeling tired and asked me to make up the bed so that she could take a nap. When I was almost done, I heard a strange wheezing sound and returned to the living room to find my wife semi-conscious and suffering from the heart attack. I called 911 and began CPR. It took 17 minutes for the paramedics to arrive and she was pronounced dead shortly after their arrival. But I thank God for the young man in charge, because he refused to give up when the others were ready to stop. He brought here back and she was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to put in three arterial stents. She was frozen for thirty-six hours to save her brain and made a complete recovery within eight days.
I tell this story not as a sad one, but rather as a very happy one. This is the story of how me and my wife were gifted with an extra year of active and even more loving marriage. After she got sick this last time she started calling the previous year "our bonus year". During that year we both felt renewed in our love for each other and our commitment to our mutual happiness. Outside of work we spent virtually one hundred percent of our time together. We ate, slept, travelled, played, watched TV, and everything else, together. We took a long cruise and renewed our vows in St. Thomas where we were married. We spent an entire year doing things we had put off or had never tried before. We were building memories.
As I sit here crying and missing my wife, The memories of "our bonus year" comfort me. Our entire marriage was wonderful, but that last active year brought us closer and gave us more joy than we ever expected or thought we deserved. I sincerely wish everyone could experience just a month of what we had for a year. I may not have my wife anymore, but we will always have that year.