Wanting the Knife

Surgery. I wanted John to have the surgery. I couldn’t choose a couple of semi-conscious days of meaningless life that the simple course of steroids would offer. To me, that would truly violate the spirit of the living will John had created. Surgery was hope. Surgery was time. Meaningful time with his family, to give him time to reflect on his life.If time seemed as if it were standing still before I made that decision, it actually went into hyperdrive the moment I settled on a course of action. We would be helicoptered to the Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Phoenix, where John would have surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible without destroying the surrounding brain tissue.

I planned not to leave as much as a dime’s width of distance between John and me during the flight. I wanted to hold onto him as if his life depended on it, as if I could transfer some of my life into him as we flew over the baking landscape below. Just as I finished readying myself for the flight, a hospital staffer approached me and said, “Sorry. You can’t go with your husband. Space on the helicopter is just too tight.” So I crashed as I watched the helicopter lift off.


©2010 Catherine Graves

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