In many ways, this day could be counted as a microcosm of grief.
It started when I went to bed with a slight headache and woke up at 1 a.m. (yes, I had fallen asleep, on purpose, at 10 p.m.) with one of the most astounding headaches of my life. I really did wonder if it was a tumor, or the precursor to a stroke, and I couldn’t decide if I cared or not. Was this it? If it was, I was at peace.
I found some aspirin, I used a cold compress. Alas, I didn’t die.
Managed to eat half my breakfast at Denny’s; managed to not cry when leaving Steve and Bev; managed to successfully avoid all three FVS students on my flight until I got to baggage claim when I inadvertently stood right next to one. Quick small talk escalated into me saying “my husband died three weeks ago” with tears starting. I don’t know what I was thinking; it just came out. I feel like an asshole … like this kid deserved my grief.
My evening got worse. I keep telling myself that when I am driving, I have to “be driving.” I didn’t make 100 yards before I wasn’t driving but thinking and I crashed into a curb, destroying a front tire. My first thought was to call Adam, who would have then told me to “call AAA.” I skipped the first step, but you know what, I told both the dispatcher and the tow truck driver that my husband died. I just wanted to give them an excuse for why I crashed into a curb in the daylight on my own. I am assured this is normal behavior and that eventually I won’t tell every Tom, Dick or Harry that my husband just died. It’s not going to work as an excuse for stupid behavior in six months anyway. Though, it should.
So, on my donut wheel, I went off to continue my new tradition of Chipotle for dinner, but I couldn’t find a parking place. Settled for Wooglin’s. I’m wondering how long I will be going out for dinner. I hear there are “Cooking for One” books out there.
The mail was a mixture of good and bad—a book from my college friend and softball buddy Christy, who has been down this road as well; a letter of condolence from a nurse at UC Health; and Adam’s autopsy results.
I had thought when I received the autopsy results I would throw them in a pile and never look. But I opened them. It was clear to me that Adam was probably out of luck the minute he took his first drink (his first relapse), after rehab. Scarring was present … and the results said it was probably scarring from five years or more (we knew this). His pancreas showed damage, his spleen was enlarged, and of course, he had enlarged veins in his stomach and esophagus. He was living on borrowed time. We didn’t know it.
But what annoyed me the most was that whoever wrote the letter spelled it “scaring” and not “scarring.” Grammar counts, folks.
Stephanie was our last nurse who mattered at Anschutz. She wasn’t the nurse who was there when he died, but I think she was with us for two days, and is the one who let Bixby in. She sent a card. I wanted to share what she wrote because I think Adam would be proud.
“To the family and friends of Adam Curry… I wanted to personally express my sorrow for your loss. It was a privilege to care for Adam as well as all of you during this difficult time. He was a very lucky and well-loved man as shown by the love, care and support I saw from you. He left an impression here, too (and not just the dog prints on the bed).”
Yes, he was very well-loved. Forever.
P.S. It’s the little things that are sad, like realizing you don’t get to watch the new Top Chef with Adam. He loved the show. He loved crazy food.