It is, in my time zone, still July 27th, and all day I have debated whether I should call attention to what this date means to me.
For many years, July 27th was, quite simply, my wedding anniversary. Celebrated with affection for years and then, as my marriage became increasingly untenable, barely noted in passing. Since my marriage ended the date typically passed like any other, but every now and then something would occur that caused me to remember the distant significance of the day. Like a fading echo down the years.
Today, my brothers and I accepted an offer on our parents’ house—just shy of one week after it was listed, just over one year after they died. Good news given the poor economy and the less than prosperous state of the village they lived in. But, money and estate matters tend to stir up family tensions. A testy conversation earlier this morning has left me feeling defensive, angry even. And no matter how hopeful it is to be one step further in the process of moving beyond the aftermath of our parents’ unexpected and overlapping deaths, it is not easy.
But the July 27th that I cannot even begin to address involves another encounter with death. My own.
Two years ago today, shortly after midnight, I went into cardiac arrest. I have written very little about this episode because I have no memory of the incident or the days immediately before or after. It has been difficult to process this event, or what it means. The cause was a pulmonary embolism, likely related to travel. I survived because my son happened to hear me, called emergency, and started CPR. But it’s not that simple. Family dynamics again.
Several times I have contemplated writing through the trauma. Try to understand why I survived. What it means.
If this near-death experience had gifted me some magical insight into the preciousness of life, I could write one of those finely crafted inspiring pieces filed under the category: Creative Nonfiction.
I have tried. That’s not my style. I am beginning to understand that my life only makes sense in scraps and fragments, even more now than ever.
I am forever in the process of writing myself into being.
Time to gather those scraps and fragments.
Image copyright Joseph Schreiber, 2017