That first night of hospital admission through the Emergency Room began a period of stunned acceptance during which we both struggled to wrap our minds around the sudden and massive changes in our joined and separate lives. While in the surreal hospital 'what the hell is happening' world a whole other life lived without us. It was this life that ultimately - once we knew the number of the room in which my spouse would spend the night - took me home. The dog hadn't been outside since early afternoon. It was now almost midnight. He hadn't eaten his dinner. He hadn't taken his evening medications. We had spent hours in the side car of a life that hadn't stopped.
Once home and after the dog had been comforted, fed, medicated, and walked I began what would become a daily ritual and a source of great comfort. I sent an email to three or four members of our combined family. That email would grow to a couple dozen while branching off into many sub-lists as family members created their own email updates. Conversations have ranged from fantasy diagnoses to theological concerns as we offer comfort and strength to each other.
So - first lesson learned? Reach out in any and every way possible because when life seems too chaotic to endure it's essential to know that others are also saying things like, "Shit. This is so beyond random."
And random it is. What is not random, though, is the sustaining power of connected and positive energy. Nurture it now.