I wanted to be held tightly and often. To feel safe in his embrace. To smell him. To hear his heartbeat.
It was not uncommon for me to stop him in his tracks on his way to the fridge and say, "Hold me. Please?"
I reached for his hand in the car whether we were going two miles or twenty. Our son, if he was in the backseat, would groan. "Again, Mom? Really?" But I think he secretly enjoys the affection between his parents.
For most of the interim between scheduling the surgery and actually going through it, I had tremendous peace and seldom cried. I had such peace, peace that only God gives. And crying is cathartic, and certainly not the antithesis to peace. It's just that I didn't feel the need to cry very often.
Three times was all I remember crying before surgery. The first time was when we sought our pastor's counsel and he asked me how I, as Paul's wife, was holding up. Instead of saying, "Fine," I reached for Kleenex as salty tears ran down my cheeks. "It's hard," I said. "I don't want to lose my husband."
The second time was at our Thanksgiving table. Our tradition is to have each person express five things they're thankful for. Well, I had barely said "Paul" before the lump in my throat gave way to hot tears.
The third time was the day before surgery. Our daughter, who had come home from Florida for a two-week Christmas break, had returned that morning. I deeply wanted all my birdies under my wing for the big event, but she had to go back, and she had said everything she wanted to say to her daddy.
I was feeling emotional.
Paul and I were standing in the living room and I threw my arms around his waist. With a small, shaky voice I said, "Hold me, honey. I'm scared."
"Not a bit! I'm ready. I'm not looking forward to the pain afterward, but I'm not at all scared--"
"I said I'm scared!"
We both laughed. A simple misunderstanding broke the tension but not the hug.
"Oh, I thought you were asking me if I was scared." He stroked my hair and held me a little tighter.
"I love you so much!" I said.
"I love you, too."