Our New Beginning

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Judith Costantino, New Jersey

Hello, I am new to this site and after reading a few of the stories I am actually glad to find out that I’m not so crazy and the emotions I have are normal.

I have been married for 32 years and we have managed to raise three children and finally got the last one out the door and ready to start the second chapter of our lives. I have been a caregiver since I was 16 for other families and I have a great understanding of my role but I never knew how grateful the families really were. I always thought they were only being polite until my husband went in for an elective surgery in February and forever my world had turned upside down, a simple surgery they said, until nine hours later I finally get to see him and my heart stopped.

Within 24 hours he had gotten an infection in his blood and went septic and three weeks later still in the hospital and several surgeries later and many abscess and drains, and bleeding internal, as his body began to shut down, I slowly watched him fade away and then the unthinkable happened as he suffered a massive heart attack and a massive stroke at the same time.

It felt like a dream that I have not yet woke from. We have been at each others side from the first day we met, and as I sat in the ICU, I realized how my best friend, my soulmate was in so much pain and I could do nothing.

As I watched the ventilator keep him alive I had whispered to him that I would never leave his side and if he wanted to go home it was ok but if he wanted to stay I would honor our vows that we had made in front of God and our family all those years ago.

At first I thought what have I gotten myself into, this is so hard and exhausting. As the mornings turn to night and 24 hours turns to 48 hrs I begin to wonder and ask why and I become mad and scream and yell as I see these older couples walking and holding hands and the young people arguing and fighting over nothing.

I put my head in my hands and begin to cry uncontrollably and out of no where came my husband's nurse. She sat with me for a while and just hugged me and reminded me that his heart is still beating and his ears can still hear. I still hear her voice telling me that he is a precious gift from God and not everyone can have this fragile gift only special people are chosen, so everyday I thank God for him.

My world is crazy, my body hurts, my mind can't stop spinning, but for the first time in my life I have finally understood what real love is and how it feels to show it as well as to receive it. Life is about listening to the birds for the first real time and smell that flower by your door, feel that sun caresses your face, smell the air, smile at the neighbor and really mean it, laugh at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself have a great day.

I am forever grateful for having him home with me even though it is so hard. Each day he is teaching me new ways to love him even more and I am honored.