There was one night in particular while in the hospital that it was pretty clear that I might not survive. I kept thinking I had to focus on the positive and survive, but then I thought about how awful it would be to have not said goodbye to anyone. There was panic all around me and I was almost incapable of breathing... the oxygen levels in my blood were plummeting. I was being prepared for Intensive Care.
Terrified that I would not return, I grabbed my hardback notebook that Jip had given me and with shaking hands and quiet tears that could not fully express themselves for lack of breath, I scrawled my goodbye letter. I couldn't think fast enough to cover everything before the took the pen and notebook away from me and tried to calm me down and focus my breathing so I wouldn't pass out.
I made it through that night. I made it through many nights. Sometimes I still cry about it.
I never wanted to see this letter again, nor did I ever want anyone to see it, but as I sat with it today, I held the feelings with me and let myself own the reality of the experience. It's easy sometimes to feel like this happened to someone else, not me. But it did happen to me. And this is how close it came to being over for me.
The letter reads:
I [heart] Jip more than I got a chance to showEND
I [heart] my friends so much more than I ever showed
I [heart] my dad and mom and bev forever
If I don't make it out of this alive, please know that I love all of you and will find you again
People are Beautiful [heart]
Jip was my crowning glory in this life, showing me how I could have been loved all along
I [heart] U Sandy * Larry
I [heart] U Cyprus
I [heart] U Nick
I [heart] U Johnny
(off to the side: "my dream team")
I [heart] U dad
You never ever let me down
I wrote that last line for my dad because he always felt he failed in protecting me from the abuse from my mother, but I never felt he was at fault. It was just a part of life, as this big scare was... and I survived.
Just like I survived this.
I'm still alive.