When we got married, Dan would ride his bike in the morning for 30 miles and then we would hike a mountain in the afternoon together.
Our weekends were filled with trips cross country skiing or hiking. We'd hike on Saturday and ski on Sundays. It wasn't unusual for Dan to say to me on a Friday night. "Pack a bag, I planned a trip for us this weekend." It was always somewhere in New England, but it always involved moving.
For a girl who didn't exercise a lick before I met Dan, this was a whole new and exciting lifestyle for me.
When Dan started to feel the effects of his heart disease he stopped biking. Dan loved biking more than anything... Oh, he tried to keep biking but he just couldn't maintain stamina and go for more than a few miles. It frustrated him so. What he once loved so much and gave him so much joy, he began to resent.
Dan didn't like to compete against other people. He loved to push himself and see how much he could outdo himself.
One by one the things that gave Dan so much peace and pleasure dropped off.
It broke my heart when he stopped cycling and skiing. One day his eyes filled with tears and he said, " I will never bike again."
I was so angry at that moment at God for punishing Dan this way. Of all people to have heart disease you gave it to Dan? You stripped away everything he loved and that gave him serenity. What did he do to deserve this?
That was just the beginning.
I am so angry that we didn't get our last vacation together. In July, we had booked a cabin on a pond in Maine. We were originally supposed to go the week before but Dan pushed it back a week.
We knew he was in A-Fib with a blood clot on his heart, but, he was given the all clear to go IF he just relaxed. On the morning of us leaving he started vomiting and feeling terrible. We had a huge fight because I didn't think we should go and he just wanted to get up there.
We made it up, but he went to bed early and got up feeling just as poorly the next morning. We had a friend come stay with us for the night and poor Dan just got more ill as the day went on. By 9:00 that evening I was taking him to the local hospital for heart failure.
I knew we were in trouble that night because usually by the time I leave the hospital Dan is already feeling better. That was not the case. They gave him medication and he stopped coughing for a few minutes but it started right back up.
"uh, oh", I thought, " This never happens"
Dan stayed in the hospital for two nights and then I packed up the cabin and we drove home.
I am so angry at God for not allowing us one last damn vacation. To say we spent at least a week together. Dan wanted this vacation so badly and I am angry for him. Why does nothing work in Dan's favor, it seems? Had he not pushed back the vacation, we would have gotten that week. Why did it work out this way?
I will never know, but, I curse God at times for the unfairness of this whole thing. Dan always tried to do everything right and it always went wrong.
After he died, his cardiologist called me and said Dan should have died 11 years ago from sudden cardiac arrest. He was amazed Dan lived through one particular episode, never mind 10 years more.
I curse God for the unfairness of it all, but I also thank him for giving us almost 11 years more.
They say you can't be angry if you are grateful, but I am finding that not to be so. I am both angry and grateful to God.
Someday, I hope to be more grateful, but right now I am still angry.