March 30, 2009
March 30, 2009


Almost seventeen years ago Lyman, my husband dropped dead in the kitchen. HIs cat, Suzy, was pacing back and forth and screeching. I called 911 and they gave me instructions on how to resuscitate him. The cat was driving me crazy so rather than throw her across the room because she was getting on my nerves, I put her in the bedroom and closed the door.

The directions that they gave me was to have him lie flat on the floor before I began the process of pumping his chest and breathing into his mouth. He was a heavy man and I felt I was unable to lift him off the wastebasket that his head had rested on, so I grabbed his legs and pulled him off of it. His head smashed onto the floor. I worried about that, but could not concern myself with it at the time as I was busy following the voice at the other end of the line.

The police arrived in time and began to question me as to what happened. My mind went blank. They said, “Where were you when he collapsed?” I slowly recalled that I was in the living room. They said “Well was he on the floor when you went into your office?” I was surprised by my reflection, “ Lyman could not have been there or I would have had to step over him!” The house plan only allows entrance into the kitchen from the Living Room. “Well were was he when you entered the office?”

Now I finally realize that my answer which I gave was incorrect. Nearly seventeen years ago, I said, “He was by the window and told me that my client had arrived.” A few mornings ago, I awoke with two memories of that day. I have been relating to clients how I became slightly annoyed that he was placing magazines in a vertical position side by side in the waste basket. I did not show him my negative reaction and I point out that I would never have been able to forgive myself if I had allowed myself to snap at him. Instead, I have the wonderful relaxed feeling that my last words to him were pleasant. I try to help my clients to realize that if we live each day as if it is our last, we will prioritise our actions and verbalizations better so that we do not have to live with lasting regret. Plus there is a positive side to the current day situation, it makes life much more agreeable and peaceful.

Suddenly today I wondered; what about the other version of that day which felt equally valid. How could that be? I asked myself. It is not possible for both memories to be correct. He could not be seated fixing the wastebasket contents and also be standing by the window. I knew that he had to have been fixing the container as I vividly recalled walking past Lyman wishing that he would kiss me instead of fussing with those magazines. A project that he had never done before. I thought, the client is on time, I will caress Lyman when I finish counseling.

Then how could I square the other memory? That was also vivid. As I rethought it, It must have been that earlier in the day, he had informed me that he my client was here.

As I am writing this, my recollection is clearing. He and I were standing by the window. He had his right hand over his heart. He had complained of indigestion for about a week, so I said,”Do you want to go to the hospital? He looked surprised, smiled and removed his hand from his heart, “No, I’m fine”. He continued to watch out the window and I spent the hour in-between clients watching TV when he informed me that a car showed up in the driveway.

I always appear calm when I am faced with death of my loved ones. When my Geat Aunt died and my mother died, I was informed by phone and was unable to speak for a few minutes, while the caller was demanding if I was all right. When I finally regained my facilities, I said, “I am fine”. Actually, I had a massive migraine after I heard that Mom had passed, but I continued with the funeral arrangements as if I were not effected. In the case of my Father, and my mother in law and my husband most people would say that I was not grieving. My daughter thought I was stoic. My husband, used to say to me when I said, I felt no emotion whatever, that I was in shock. Lyman said that I was not acting the same as I usually did, but then he knew my reactions intimately. Sometimes we would simultaneously answer a question with the identical words. I asked him what I did that was different, but he was not able to quantify.

This entire epiphany was a revelation that I was in shock. The shock lasted all these years! What concern I next, had, was what about cases where the spouse is accused of murdering their mate and they reply with what seems to be a lie when investigated. How many individuals have we accused that were in shock and innocent? I shudder at that concept.