The Attack of the Heart: Part One
The Phone Call
As I sit here tonight in my bed, watching t.v. with my husband, and our dogs are all snuggled in with us, it is hard to process that just a little over a month ago we were separated by 400 miles and as Cody was recovering from a heart attack, I was struggling to make sense of my world while the people around me were trying to give me support and making the decisions about how to get me home…
Our Fourth of July plans were to spend it in Muleshoe, followed by a weekend in Lubbock; Lynnsay, Hudson and I were already there. We had arrived on Monday in order to spend a little extra time with friends and family we had not seen in a while. We were looking forward to Cody, H.B. and David joining us on Wednesday night. We had been at my parent’s house for just over 24 hours, and as usual, communication with Cody had been sparse.
I always joke that when Cody and I are in separate towns “he goes dark”… which if you know him at all, you know that communication is not his strength…so random text messages, generally about our business are pretty much all I expect. I never expect him to answer my phone calls, and I am never surprised when a text message goes without a response…so the fact he did not answer my phone call Tuesday evening was no concern… and the fact that there was no response to my text messages was also no reason for alarm…but the phone call I received around 9:30 from my son, David, that conversation brought my world to a stand still.
“Mom, everything is ok for now; but we were moving Jacob and Katherine and Dad had a heart attack. He is having a heart attack. But we are at the hospital and he is talking.”
I jumped out of my chair and proceeded to spiral into a hole of fear and the only question I really remember asking was, “What?!! WHAT?!” My mind began to run away, and my body followed it out the door into my parents’ backyard…but I could not get away from the words David was saying. Cody was having a heart attack.
As I tried to make sense out of what my son was saying to me, my mom, dad and daughter were following me around trying to piece together what I was saying. They were trying to understand what was causing me to fall into hysterics…
A phone conversation that started at 9:30 and probably lasted less than 5 minutes changed my life. The next 24 hours were the darkest fog I have ever tried to walk through, and honestly, I am still walking through patches of it…most of the time it is a light haze, but sometimes so thick that it blinds me and fills me with fear.
I fell in love with Cody almost immediately…he claims he believes in “love at first sight” and that he knew that he loved me the first time we spent a day together… Regardless of when we both knew that our hearts were knit together forever… it was many years ago… when I was 18 and he was 22… He has been my one and only; my compass pointing me north; my love; my happiness; my dreams come true… he has been, and still is my everything. We have built a relationship, life and family together for the last 30 years…It is simple, complicated, easy, hard, peaceful, hateful, selfless and selfish. Our life has been full of laughter, love and tears.
Following the phone conversation, in order to gather myself, I went to wash my face and I looked at my reflection in the mirror at my parent’s house, the same mirror I looked into as a teenager, the same mirror I looked into when I came home, so many years ago and relived our first kiss, feeling so lucky that he had made me feel special and that he had actually kissed me… As I stood there with the wash rag in my hand and the water running in the sink, my present crashed with my past and suddenly the memories came flooding back to me…happy memories that were suddenly unwelcome thoughts…they kept hitting me like punches in my gut, I literally felt the breath being knocked out of my body, and I simply could not stand up. As I sat on the floor, reliving our life everything ended with me picking our grandson, Hudson, up off the floor the morning we were leaving to head to Muleshoe, because he was crying for his Pops who was walking out the door to go to work…and how Cody’s eyes danced with happiness over the fact that he was the “chosen one”…Cody, my love, my children’s daddy and my grandbabies’ Pops; the man I had admitted to myself that I was totally in love with in that very bathroom, while looking into my reflection in that very mirror… that man… my man… was having a heart attack. A.Heart.Attack.At.51.FIFTYONE. And I was 400 miles away.
My parents prayed with me as Lynnsay made phone calls… everyone was trying to decide how we should get home… fly? Drive? Wait until tomorrow? There was still some silly voice in my head that kept saying, “It is dumb to go back, he will be here tomorrow with HB and David.” And I remember at one point telling my mom that maybe he was not really having a heart attack- “He has had a hiatal hernia for years- I bet that is what it is. I am sure that he has not eaten well while I have been gone.” My precious mom, only wanting to take care of me, tried to agree with me…as she worked so hard to give me some sort of peace, some sort of comfort…
And then Lynnsay received a phone call from David and came to tell me, “David said they have taken Dad to the operating room and he will call us as soon as he knows anything else.” My loose grip on peace and calm which was based solely on false hope slipped out of my control…and, as I was surrounded by people who loved me the most, I fell apart.