As I Stand

…A year ago today – the world lost a beautiful person, these words were given then and rightfully again now….

Here I stand on my own two feet wavering between thoughts, memories, and realities; grasping that this is the moment everyone has been dreading. Is this how a valediction is supposed to go? Is this what it feels like to observe someone’s life end right in front of you? I imagined a darker setting, a morbid ending and not enough goodbyes; but that’s not what you have been given. You were given time. Time for all your loved ones to be by your side, time for people to process the events that had developed, and time for us to conjure up the hope for a miracle
Upon entering that hospital last night I had no idea what I might distinguish, how my legs would stay standing, and how I could be strong for someone I love so deeply when I myself was going to be hurting.
There’s nothing that unnerves me more than any hospital setting; more so than scares me, it makes me physically ill. I’ve always hoped that loved ones of mine would never have to see the inside walls of a hospital in their lifetime, in hopes and fears that I would have to go see them, how selfish and naive of me.

Walking down that long dark corridor at 10:09 last night with my Dahlgren girls by my side I established in my mind a new true meaning of love. A love between you and I Alyssa Julie that when tragedy strikes all our differences are set aside and we are there for one another, because love conquers all. A love between Alyssa and Thanh, that even in her darkest hour she pushes through every day to make an appearance at that hospital, holding his hand, wiping his face, telling him stories while he silently listens. A love between Jody and her daughter, a love that shows she is prepared to drop anything for you to be by your side; the woman worked from 9 – 6 and is in the car by 8 on her way to Mankato with her daughter in a time of tragedy to be by her side and with little to no sleep for any of us, she wakes to do it all again, a love between the three of us that has endured many hardships together and many more a part. A love that although has been through trials and tribulations of life when we are reconnected, even in the worst of situations, we don’t even miss a beat; the only thing we have missed is one another.
Waiting for the elevator to reach the third floor is like waiting for a knockout in a world renowned UFC fight. The doors part ways and we are greeted with the same wonderful design of any hospital, luminescent lights that could make even the most beautiful of women look like a washed out middle aged train wreck. Turning down a concourse of hallways that lead to others and some obscure secret passages in between I realize I could never be a nurse here because I assume it’s against the rules to carry around a map like you’re looking for lost treasure.
Seeing the letters I, C, and U in the same sentence mean one of two things, you have a stalker that can’t spell whole words so he expresses himself through the simplest of phonics, or there has been a tragedy and you are about to face a being holding onto a thin line that sways over the decisions of life & death.
Staring down those double doors with an awful feeling in my stomach, you march forward like a warrior going into battle, not breaking, faltering, or hesitating. You owned that hallway like it was your catwalk girl, and you looked damn good.

Making your way back, giving cordial greetings to all the nurses, whom by now know you by name, last room on the right, family swarming around the room preparing copies of prayers, music playing softly in the background, all these machines spilling out different numbers that to me, mean there must be a heart beating somewhere under there. I glance to the floor, knowing my stomach is starting to turn I fear looking fear itself in the face when I hear Alyssa say to you “hey babe, how are you doing? You’re looking better and better each day.” My eyes slowly move from the god awful linoleum floor tiles up to the gawky mint green curtains to her holding your hand ever so gently and finally my eyes fall where my fears have been hiding for so long; seeing someone I love hurting.

But there you were, looking more radiant and beautiful than ever, I could see a healthy man and was confused as to why he was hooked up to all these machines and doctors were telling us to say our goodbyes as it would be ending soon for him.
Not wanting to stay long, only long enough to say goodnight, I sat in the corner chair watching this almost 20 year old girl handle herself in a manner most people preparing themselves for a loss could only admire and envy all in the same flip of emotion. I sat and watched her float around the room, hugging family, holding his hand, kissing his cheeks, never once flinching at the circumstance, never looking fearful, and never vacillating. Watching the way she could love the man she loves even after he’s not mentally present just shows how much faith she had in him and how much hope she had in their relationship.
I’ve always believed in a different sense of “the one”. I believe there is “a one” for each stage in your life, adolescent, teen, twenty, sometimes thirties and forties; it all depends on the person. But in my theory lies the basic principal of evolving, see there are times when one person is stuck in their ways and doesn’t want to grow anymore, other times one person doesn’t know how to grow, that’s generally where compromise comes in, helping each other out for a better tomorrow for the sake of the relationship. Eventually there will come a time where you run out of “a one” and they grow into “the one” they begin to evolve with you, they begin to change on their own, not because you made them, but because they wanted to be that for you. You’re someone that makes them want to be a better person and a better being.

Thanh was Biss’s one, and she; his. As she put it “You’re the yin to my yang, everything you don’t like I do, we balance each other out so well”. She hit the nail on the head, Alyssa’s never rushed to slow down until Thanh, she never felt the way about another the way she did about Thanh, and there was more than a boyfriend to him, he was her best friend as well; they told each other everything.
Seeing the love between the two of them radiate that hospital room I couldn’t help but let the tears flow, here are two people that wanted nothing more than to love each other; and now that possibility has been threatened by reality. Kissing him goodnight, telling him a sweet nothing in his ear, we head towards the door knowing what tomorrow would bring; knowing that would be the last ‘good night’.

Am I going to tell you it’s going to be ok? No. Am I going to sit here and tell you that you’re going to find another person who’s ‘the one’? I can’t take that responsibility. But I will tell you this Alyssa Julie, the way that boy looked at you was piercing to anyone who noticed his gaze when you weren’t looking. He was enamored with you and he wanted nothing more than to just love you, forever, and he will. It’s going to hurt like hell, but there will be a day where it gets easier, and eventually you’ll be able to think about him and beam, feeling so thankful to have been blessed with a man who had such a hold on your heart, one that he’ll never let go of. He’s watching over you, you told me yesterday that you can already start to feel him; take comfort in that, he’s there for you and you couldn’t have a more perfect guardian angel.

Written at 1:56 this afternoon
Sitting across the room from you right now watching how you have handled such an adverse situation has me stunned at the woman you’ve become, it’s now that I realize I have watched you grow from a freshman in high school into the beautiful woman sitting there with strength and courage at her side, you were brave today, more brave than i could ever be. I know he heard you, the heart rate machines don’t lie. He’s a better man because you loved him, and he couldn’t have picked a more beautiful woman to spend forever with. My hand in yours, while our steps coincide down the corridor of the hospital ward; tears seeming endless my unspoken pact to you is this: I’m right here, and I’m not going anywhere, on this journey you’re not alone and like our synced footsteps down that hospital hall, we’ll get through this together, one step at a time.

Thanh: You couldn’t have had more people around your bedside today that loved you so much when they let god take you. You have an amazing woman that loves you two wonderful friends that will look after her and a beautiful family that has been nothing but kind to us. We are all better people because you have been a part of our lives, as we speak we are looking at photos of you and smiling at baby pictures, although we are still in shock in a matter of hours your going to be saving other peoples lives, it’s beautiful and sunny out, not a cloud in the sky to get in your way on the way up, while the wind blows outside I close my eyes and for just a second, I can hear that laugh again. Be well. Be beautiful. We’ll be seeing you.


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