Life and Not and Lilies

The house is quiet now. The kids have gone home — son, daughter-in-law, son, girlfriend. I couldn’t have made it without them the past week.

Besides silence, the house is filled with the sweet, sweet scent of lilies. I must do something about that before it overwhelms me.

I thought my husband had a stomach virus — or maybe salmonella — and went out for saltines and ginger ale. But that wasn’t it, and after teams of doctors and surgeons in two hospitals worked to save his life over a 39-hour period, he died one week ago of an aortic dissection, a catastrophic event.

And so…


10 Comments on “Life and Not and Lilies”

  1. sarahemc2 says:

    I wake up every morning thinking, “How would I survive this, if it had happened to me?” I don’t come up with any answers.

    Get rid of the lilies. We should have sent gin and giant tins of homemade fudge. We still can. Just let us know what would help. We both have guestrooms and live in places where there are many distractions. And I, at least until August, have a schedule that would let me travel and play maid for a week or so, so that you do whatever you needed to do–cry, drink, break thrings, lie in bed, scream into the night–while I made sure the dog was fed and the dishes were done.

    Let us know what we can do, if there is anything we can do.

  2. Kathy says:

    Not your lilies! The nonfictionista plant is a peace lily and it does not have a scent. It is in the center of my breakfast table, and I appreciate it so much, as well as the thoughts and prayers behind it.

    We never know how we can survive something like this. It just doesn’t seem real yet. Me, I am riding high on adrenaline. I have worked all week; I inherited a business. I do have wine and tears and chocolate…and a strong need to break something — thanks for that idea. I am okay and then I have this bone-crushing emptiness and feeling of finality that just curls my back. The dog is grieving, too.

    I walk the dog, ride my bike, eat M&M’s, work, sleep, and I can feel him wanting me to write again. I can feel him at times soothing me.

  3. Sherry says:

    I wake early, like Sarah, and some of my first thoughts are of you. I’m hoping you feel us wrapping you up with love, like a favorite shawl. (Sarah knitted it 😉 I know this journey you’re on is taken day by day by day. We’re here for every dawn.

    And ditto for delivery of fudge, smash-worthy dishes, and dog-spoiling. Quickbooks entry. Ramp kimchi. Online scrabble. Bicycle maintenance.

  4. MaryB says:

    Oh, Kathy, please know how many folks are holding you in their thoughts and prayers. The comments on Nobody Asked just scratch the surface of what we’re feeling about this. I keep thinking I’ll pull up Charlie’s blog and it will all have been just one of his (not-so-funny) gags. Just keep walking the dog and eating M&M’s – whatever gets you through.

  5. drtombibey says:

    Ms. Kathy,

    I am a Doc, and those dissections are a dreaded thing. Very hard to do much with. I had a family member die of one, too. It was a helpless feeling.

    I scan through blogs of folks who visit, and came across your post today. Even though I do not know you, I sure am sorry for your loss.

    Dr. B

  6. brucefong says:

    Kathy, So sorry for your loss. I hope that the cyberspace community’s interest can give you some comfort and solace in your time of grief. With prayers, Bruce W

  7. Suzann says:

    Kathy – I am a reader of Winston’s blog – I also am widowed and I send my love and care across the miles – I am so sorry about this journey you never asked to take. There is an online community that saved my sanity – it is Please be gentle with yourself – sending comforting hugs and many warm thoughts every day. Smashing dishes is a great exercise.

  8. Joy says:

    Hi Kathy,

    I have read Winston’s blog for as long as I’ve been blogging….about three years…and he mine. To say that my heart is broken with the news of his passing would be an understatement. His spirit, generous heart and warm wit is irreplaceable. Our community will miss him so much Kathy. Winston (Charlie) was loved dearly as you can see by the countless comments left on your post on his blog. As people are still finding out….and having a hard time believing he actually IS gone….you’ll continue to see just how much that dear sweet guy meant to all of us. God Bless you Kathy….and may you always have wonderful memories of Winston in your heart forever…..and may you laugh…..always laugh. With love, Joy

  9. I have no words, Kathy.

  10. Hey, Kathy, we were at the creative nonfiction conference this February. I heard word of this through another conference-goer. I don’t know you more than as another great person from that conference, but my heart goes out to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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