“Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world” and TREENA’S new book of poetry were both completed, ready for the printer, on Labor Day 2015. We looked at each other and smiled at two jobs that we felt we had done quite well.
“It is finished!” we cried in unison.
The very next day Treena was scheduled for minor day surgery from which we expected she would recover rapidly enough to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary with all our children on September 22.
Sadly, this was not to be.
It began with a simple infection that became full-blown pneumonia that was so rapid that a ventilator was used to help her breathe whilst the antibiotics did their work.
The prognosis was mixed and we had to consider two tracks to the future.
In one we would choose a day and time with a very tender and loving palliative care team, and gather about her as they removed the support ventilator and then watch as she went to “sleep” (see 1 Thessalonians 4:14 NIV)
On the other path she would pull through and be able, after a couple of days rehab, to return home. Hour by hour we wrestled with what would Treena want. We were all trying to live beyond our own immediate interest, which was powerfully wanting her to live.
On the morning of 16 September she took the decision into her own hands and awakened out of her drug assisted sleep and yanked the tube out of her throat…breathing on her own after a full three days on the machine.
Within a couple of hours she was able to speak and then began a 36 hour gift of radiant life to everyone who entered her room; family, friends, nurses, doctors, janitorial staff, not one single soul was overlooked…she chatted, smiled, hugged, sat up and made us all laugh with her infectious joy.
At one point she announced, without any hesitation, “Jesus and me are going to have a cup of tea together…tea and eggs!” She was clearly excited about the prospect.
She was interested in all our lives, wanting the best for us and recalling some small issues that were really personal and hardly pressing…yet wonderfully warming to have had her remember us so individually.
She left nobody out. She lived in that splendid outgoing giving of herself until the last hour, with only 30 minutes sleep in that day and a half of happiness. What a gift!
As the reader of our story you will have become aware of most of the ways in which she lived her life. It was not an easy journey but she certainly lived it to the full and her not being by my side has opened up an enormous space.
I am writing this just one week after her final breath and my emotions are still both raw and unpredictable. She called me “The bestest husband in all the world”. That was her opinion so I didn’t argue…she was, for me, the love of my life and will remain in that place forever.
Not exactly a Hollywood ending but then, we were not exactly a Hollywood couple.
It’s enough for us that the leaves of the trees may clap their hands as we both close the book on this Rite Of Passage we call human life.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin