Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24, 1989

I was in Philadelphia staying in a small hotel that was not air-conditioned and because it was run by a religious group (less expensive than the modern hotels around it), I had to wear skirts with pantyhose - no slacks, no capris and certainly no shorts. It was hot but I didn't mind.

I would walk the three blocks to the U of P Hospital every morning and take their courtesy van back to hotel in the evening.

This day was Rich's birthday - his 42nd - and he was in the cardiac care unit of the hospital waiting for a heart transplant.

I'd decorated his room with tropical scenes and family pictures. His mother and one of his sisters came down with a birthday cake to celebrate. It would be the last time they saw him alive. He died less than two weeks later, without the heart that could have saved him.

Since 1990 I've gone to his grave every August 24. I take flowers; I stay a few moments and I remember the man who was in my life such a short time.

It's still difficult to think about what might have been.
I've taken those memories and the life together that we never had and put them in a bell jar, preserving what was and what wasn't.

This may be the last year that I go to his grave.
I may finally pack that bell jar away.

Rich will understand.


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