The home ‘landline’ phone rang and I glanced at the Caller ID thinking it was another scam call. It was a South Bay hospital, one that Rick had been to twice for surgical procedures during his battle with cancer. They asked for Rick as they had billing questions regarding Medicare enrollment. I told them that Rick had barely turned 64 and did not get the chance to apply for Medicare when he passed. The person on the other end apologized and said she would get the mix-up resolved.
But upon hanging up from that call there was no resolution for me. There is an irrational line of thinking among those who have lost a spouse, a child or a parent when they are not yet an adult. It’s not quite ‘magical thinking’ but rather an unattainable, hopeful idea ‘seed’ which sprouts rapidly. And for me, this phone call, a little over 3 years after Rick’s passing had placed in my heart this wildly germinating seed: “Rick! He’s alive and knows he needs to get on Medicare! Maybe he’s on his way here!”
Now, I wasn’t getting ready to call the sons and plan a special dinner for Rick’s return. It’s not as if my conscious mind was anticipating Rick’s homecoming. But as this seed took root in my chest it was a feeling in my heart, a “hope against all hope” kind of feeling. It was an incredible yet crushing feeling and I only wish I knew how to eradicate the ‘crushing’ yet keep the incredible. My heart was racing, and in my lungs, it felt like I imagine climbing Mt Everest without extra oxygen would feel. I could not get enough air!
I walked around, hand to my chest. I paced, put on an oversize flannel shirt because I was suddenly chilled from trying to gulp in the perceived ‘thin frigid air’ – my throat felt dry with the taste of dank, cold metal. I poured myself the last of my coffee to attempt to get back to a routine Monday headspace.
It was then that I realized that along with perceived adverse sensations to my heart & lungs, I also sensed warm, tender feelings of a renewed closeness to Rick. Instead of a wave of grief loss I felt something like a slideshow review of cherished images and treasured memories of our life & love was being reinforced deep within me.
It was time to take the dog for a walk and I mentally said to Rick “It feels like this whole experience brought you back closer to me. I like feeling closer to you.”
I felt a calming effect and after walking about 100 ft the light gold tip of a feather caught my eye. I picked it up and kept walking, feeling an affirmation at the timing and unusual color.
As I walked my dog along the creek a question popped in my head: “So the feeling of remembering our wonderful life is better than feeling the pain from loss?” Of course the answer was ‘Yes!’ I suddenly felt at peace as I walked toward the sidewalk next to a busy street. I silently said to Rick, “It feels like old times-you & me, talking while walking the dog. I needed this now. Thank you, I love you.”
About 10 steps later I looked up at the intersection in front of me when I saw a car that made me stop walking. It was a late 90’s 4 door Jaguar XL6, navy blue! And it was headed in the direction of ‘driving home’ to our house, just a half-block away.
It looked exactly like the car Rick drove when I first met him! Same model, same color. And so soon after me acknowledging Rick! I still can’t quite get over my surprising Monday afternoon, all because of a phone call. The only way I can end this is with a Rick word: “Serendipity”.