Lee’s brother and her mom used to regale me with stories of her harrowing first year of life, when, for a time it appears, she hovered above the razor’s edge between life and death. Happily, for all concerned, Lee not only survived but thrived.
One time Lee and I were discussing our respective childhood illnesses, you know, chicken pox, German measles, and the like. However, Lee’s list was quite extraordinary, my first inkling perhaps of what was in store.
Shortly after I met Lee, I came to find out she had diabetes. Later, I learned firsthand, while we were on a backpacking excursion, precisely how insidious this disease can be when, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, Lee’s blood sugars plunged to a dangerously low level. It made her disoriented and loopy. I quickly removed the heavy pack off her back, fished out a glucose tablet that she kept in a tube, and slid it underneath her tongue. To her credit, Lee never allowed diabetes to impair her zest for life.
Indeed, nearly until the end of her life, when Lee’s cancer-induced pain got so overwhelming and intense that it made her roll up like a human ball and moan like a wounded animal, I had never heard her complain that life dealt out an unfair hand. Yet, it had.
As I have written here, Lee valiantly fought cancers in various forms for several years until one finally took hold and wouldn’t let go until she was dead. Years before this terminal event, I had begun experiencing a feeling of creeping dread. After a time, whenever I would try to envision our future happiness, a world where Lee and I would live our best lives well into our dotage, I could not. Each time I did, I only saw myself.
Now, not for one moment did I think that my feelings of dread were a spooky premonition of Lee’s early death. I would instead argue that my feelings were rational based on Lee’s long history of suffering significant and unusual medical problems. In the end, of course, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts for me is that Lee died, and I was alone.
As I have reported to you, in the fullness of time following Lee’s death, I was lucky enough to meet Robyn, who loves me. We enjoy a strong, loving relationship, and I pinch myself for enjoying continuous good fortune.
Recently, back in December, Robyn experienced a sudden and strange episode, one sufficiently serious to catch my immediate attention, and interrupt a perfectly delightful luncheon with good friends. We sought emergency medical care at the closest hospital. Fortunately, Robyn’s experience was a transitory event, because we were out of town at this time. Even so, what occurred was so potentially serious as to warrant Robyn undergoing extensive diagnostic testing back at home. A couple of weeks passed when the tests had to be scheduled and performed, and a qualified specialist consulted.
I must tell you that while waiting for her results I experienced some familiar and unwelcome feelings of dread. Of course, Robyn’s personal history is nothing like Lee’s. Still, my feelings persisted, though this time I had no supporting facts for my gnawing concern.
The results are back, and everything looks good. Suddenly, all is right in the world again!