In many ways it was an ordinary week, so terribly ordinary that it would almost be otherwise forgettable. Monday and Tuesday were the usual chores. We had the usual shopping trips. James had physiotherapy and three doctors' appointments, one which wasn't needed (apparently his hemoglobin is finally in the normal range, so he didn't need this week's Procrit shot; he also had his A1C tested and it came out an amazing 5.9).
There were a couple of blips: one was that I got very worried over the sore on James' toe and we ended up canceling his sleep study partially because I didn't want him walking that much on his right foot till we saw the podiatrist next week. The other reason we canceled was because our petsitter couldn't come to walk Tucker; her mom had been diagnosed with COVID. We would have had to leave at 6 p.m. and wouldn't be home until 8 a.m. or so, and I didn't think it was fair Tucker would have to go 13-14 hours without getting to pee. I was also worried about the person with COVID, because she was already in shock about something else.
So were we, for that matter, and so was anyone who was friends with Lin Butler.
Lin was a very special person with a beautiful spirit, a killer sense of humor, a big heart, and a welcoming smile, smart as all get out—she was a chemist for Coca-Cola for many years—and a tireless fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis organization (her younger son was diagnosed with CF). In the last few years she has battled a number of health problems, including cancer and heart problems, and done so with bravery and humor. In October she watched her older son and his girlfriend of several years "tie the knot" with happiness, even though she was ill with bronchitis at the time. (She told her doctor she'd do anything he said, but if she had to go in the hospital again it must be after the wedding.)
The nasty cough she had from the bronchitis hung on into November and the two times we saw her in December, and the last time we saw her, on the morning of January 6. She was talking about a little trip she was planning to take with our friends Alice and Juanita; I didn't catch where it was they were going that day, but it turned out to be in Florida, at a little beach condo. I'm sure she was dreaming about breathing in the wonderful sea air, and she did get to enjoy it for one evening.
Later that evening she had trouble breathing and was taken to the nearest emergency room. It turned out she had double pneumonia and had to be intubated.
She died of heart failure three days later.
So it was a very ordinary week. And a very cold week and a terrible week and an empty week. There is a gap that can never be filled, an empty place at the table, a missing piece of our hearts.
Here in Georgia the day of her death had been very wet, a steady, miserable drizzle all day; even when evening fell, there was a mist of rain droplets casting a bit of a fog, with the streetlights haloed by the rain. At bedtime, just as we were preparing to shower, the lights went off, then on again, with the weather as it was, not much of a surprise since we have pinpoint blackouts on sunny days, too. But then the lights started blinking off and on in the most astonishing way, the bulbs sometimes powered so low that only the filament was lit. It reminded me of some horror movie where that happened, not sure which one.
James snapped on a flashlight before the lights quit doing their carnival thing and went black completely. And that's when I noticed lights were flickering outside. Through the bathroom window there was this weird flickering like heat lightning in the summer, just a constant, rapid flashing like the wings of a fluttering bird.
I thought I was seeing things, so went from the bedroom to the back door on the deck and opened the door, and then had to call James because this spooky light was just flickering on and off all through the air outside. It was eerie. James came stumping out on his cane and watched this, then said, "Try looking out the front window and see if it looks the same," so I ran into the spare bedroom; sure enough, I could still see the flickering light through the curtains, and pulled up the shade.
Flickering, yes, facing west as well, dancing over the roofs of the houses across the street, but now you could see the source in the northwest sky, a point far beyond the trees where the lights were dancing like fireworks seen through a translucent cloud cover, hovering over a central point, yellowish, whitish, and sometimes other pale shades. All at once, it turned bluish, then got intensely bright and then was extinguished.
Martian War Machines? Spaceships over Witch Mountain? We figured a transformer or something similar sparking, and the mist in the air reflecting the flickering light everywhere. (Another source said it was a power station overload.)
By the time I got back in the bedroom and called Cobb EMC, the power was back on, and the lady on duty must have thought I was crazy talking about how the sky flickered.
Being the sentimentalist I am, the thought did flash into my head--maybe it was Lin trying to send us a message. Maybe now she can light up the sky.
Labels: chores, death, errands, events, friends, health