Many years of being an emergency physician taught me how to quickly assess a patient and determine what needed to be done. Looking at the patient and the monitors, I could call out orders – meds, IVs, breathing treatments- and my great staff jumped in and did them.
Many years of being a restaurant manager taught Neil how to quickly assess the dining room and determine what needed to be done. He could read his customers instantly and know who was getting impatient, who didn’t like their meal, who needed something at their table; and he too, could direct his staff to do what was required.
We were two adults used to “bossing” people around and were both very good at what we did. That was great for our jobs, but it was terrible for our marriage. Continue reading →
This past New Years my daughters and I weren’t quite ready to celebrate without Neil, so we decided to go on a cruise. A week before the trip, I received a strange message on my cell phone. It was from an executive at the cruise line, offering a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” I was certain it was one of those offers that are more trouble than they’re worth (“take a short 4 hour tour of the ship and will give you this free gift!”) but something possessed me to call back.
It really was a vice president of the cruise line, and the phone number he had given me was the direct line to his office. As soon as I told him my name, he said, “ I am so glad you called right back. I have great news!” Don’t fall for it, I starting chanting to myself, already regretting the impulsive decision to return the call. “This doesn’t happen often, but the Owner’s Suite on your ship is open and we’d like to offer it to you,” he said. “There are a few fees associated with it, but it’s not much more than the room you’ve already booked and it would be perfect for a group of girls.” Continue reading →
One of the worst fights Neil and I ever had was the night of his 25th class reunion. In retrospect, the reunion was a recipe for disaster even before it started; there was no way things could have turned out well. I worked night shift the night before and never slept that day. I knew no one in Neil’s graduating class, and although I was flattered that he wanted to show off his family, I was exhausted by the prospect of an entire day nodding politely and smiling constantly. Continue reading →
I brought up the decorations and the tangled tree lights from the basement and faced the huge stack with melancholy. Neil loved Christmas and overdid it every year. Not an inch of our house was void of Christmas cheer; from bathroom to basement, it was all decorated. And when he ran out of decorations, he put bows on everything, including the pets and the dining room chairs. I sat on the floor staring at those boxes and remembered another time long ago when I found myself sitting on the floor. Continue reading →
A few weeks ago I got to visit my sister, who lives near the ocean in New Jersey. After dinner one evening, we all packed up and went to the beach, her husband and three sons to play in the water and she and I to just relax on the shore. The sky was a beautiful mix of blue and white, and a gentle breeze blew through my hair as we sat. Without even realizing it, I drifted back to another day at the beach years ago………
I’m standing in the ocean, water up to my knees. Neil is calling me to come out farther, where he is only covered to his ankles. I am not a water person, but he is. The sun is beating bright; people are splashing and laughing all around me. I watch a line of pelicans fly overhead, and I’m suddenly brave. As I walk out toward Neil, the water gets oddly shallow and soon I find myself laughing with him on the sandbar. It gets hot out there is the sun beats down, without a cloud in sight. Continue reading →