I entered the study and found my husband Roger sitting on the couch. He had worked late the night before, but that wasn’t unusual. He still wasn’t home when I went to bed at midnight. He had come home around 1:00 am, changed clothes, and gone into the study. A self-proclaimed techno-nerd and information addict, he could indulge both passions on the Internet. He was probably sharing theological insights in some cerebral chat-room when he felt an explosion and a flooding heat in his chest. He left the computer, pulled off his T-shirt, and sat down on the couch as darkness descended.
An aneurysm in his phrenic artery had ruptured and he died in a few merciful minutes.
At the time, I didn’t know that. I just remember thinking it was odd that he was sitting on the couch with his shirt off. I said his name. He didn’t answer or move, which was strange because he was a very light sleeper. Fears began their familiar assault, but I told myself they were the universal mother/wife fears which had always been groundless before. But as I moved closer and peered into his absent face, reality warped. Some other woman must have screamed with such agonized disbelief that three daughters, all sound sleepers, were instantly at her side. Some other trembling woman fumbled at her husband’s wrist, searching in vain for a pulse. And some other woman ran through her kitchen in a nightmare slow-motion time-warp to call 911.