Loneliness. It creeps in sometimes. When I least expect it.
I know it’s probably shocking that, as a married-to-my-best-friend mother of three kids all under 4, I can ever feel alone. And — admittedly — it is rare. But from time to time, it happens. It hits you like a ton of bricks. And when you’re so rarely lonely; it’s excessively scary. I mean, I can barely use the bathroom alone. And maybe that’s my problem. That “my people” are always there. That I am always a mother. I am always taking care of someone. Some little heart that needs to be loved and given care. And as a wife? My man. He is always there. Caring after my little heart. Taking care of me. I never doubt that he will be there. Ever. It just is.
Until it’s not.
Last weekend, we went to a wedding in San Francisco. And I left my babies for the first time overnight. EVER. While this just isn’t something comfortable for me, I knew this was important to my man. And quite honestly, important for me too. I need to know how to do this stuff. How to let go of “my people” and trust that the loved ones around me are capable of caring for these hearts. And as hard as it was, I packed up. Dropped the kids with Grandma. And flew away with him. Like, flew away. In the sky. Across the country.
This is insane. Deep breaths.
But then I held hands with my man. We looked at each other like teenagers who’s parents were letting them travel somewhere alone — though, we were never fortunate enough to experience that as teenagers (read: strict parents). We flew into SF. Went shopping downtown. Ate macaroons and drank Blue Bottle Coffee. Walked that amazing city hand in hand. And my heart. It was happy. I found myself Surprised. Surprised at how easy this was. How comfortable I was and at ease with the fact that we were so far from our kids.
Our time in the city needed to be quick. We were on a whirlwind 24 hour trip and needed to get to Napa for this wedding. Jump-cut: Golden gate, In-N-Out, OC Mix Vol 1, Wine Country, Hotel Scramble, Outfits, and boom: we’re high-fiving each other on the shuttle to the wedding. And the wedding. Man, that was fun. It was deep in wine country at this beautiful ranch. And we loved the “Summer of George”. The signature cocktail of the evening. Vodka, Grapefruit Juice, Basil, Simple Syrup, and Lime. I mean. Unreal.
And as we danced the night away, I rested my head on my man’s shoulder and I thought…
“I don’t know why it has taken me four and a half years to get away with this man.”
Everything was fine. But that loneliness I mentioned, was about to rear its ugly head.
We caught the last shuttle back to our drop off point in Napa. I think everyone on the shuttle fell asleep. I did. Once again, on the shoulder of my man. And as we pulled up to our drop off point. I ran my hand down Dave’s back. His shirt was soaking wet. And his breath was heavy. As the driver pulled to a stop. He turned the lights on in the bus. And Dave. He was white as a sheet. Not the pale Swedish man he always is. But white. See-through white. His eyes were kind of rolling into the back of his head. He was drenched from head to toe. Through his suit. And all I could think was,“get us off of this bus.” So I grabbed him.
“Dave. Let’s go. Dave. Come on. Let’s go.”
I pleaded with him.
He was sort of semi-coherent. And I managed to get him standing to walk off the bus. After a few steps, he passed out. Cold. And luckily, a man we had just met waiting in line for the shuttle caught him. Suddenly everyone was huddled around him. He was dead weight. Three men carried him to the curb — he looked like death.
“Dave. Dave. Dave. Wake up. Dave. Dave.”
I tried everything to wake him up.
“How much has he had to drink?” people started to question. I mean, we drank. But not that much. I was practically sober as the wedding was ending. He was too. He didn’t seem drunk at all while we waited for the shuttle. I think that’s what scared everyone there. 30 minutes prior we had all been standing around chatting.
Not a single person there was thinking,
“who’s Drunky McDrunkerson over here?”
It was unanimous that we needed to call 911. People were trying to see if he was even breathing. It started to scare me. Beyond the scared that this situation would require. But truly scared. I thought he was going to die. Or was already dead. I didn’t know. Nobody else did either.
The paramedics arrived. And they too proceeded to try and wake him. In a matter of minutes they had stripped his shirt off. Shaved his chest — right there in the parking lot — and had strapped a million heart monitoring stickers to his body. They lifted him into the ambulance. Handed me his soaking wet shirt and told me to get in the front seat.
As I started to get in, the man who caught him, whom we had just met for the first time, handed me a piece of paper.
“This is my number. I live in Alameda. Call me. If you need anything. I will come get you. Day or night.”
His wife was pregnant with a little girl. And he had spent the first part of our shuttle ride showing us pictures of their son. He was a good man. They are out there. Good men. And when I meet them, they still stop me in my tracks. The kindness of others is staggering sometimes.
I wrapped my hand around the paper. And held it tight. The facts were quickly sinking in. I have no one here. I have no idea where I am. Or what hotel we are staying at. What time our flight leaves in the morning. Where our car is parked. Where our bags are. Dave handles this stuff. He always has. And like I said before, I have never doubted that he would be there taking care of me. The way he always does.
And then I heard it. His voice.
“Where’s my wife?”
I turned around to see him. Strapped to a gurney. Looking up at me in the front seat. And he smiled. A small little “I am sorry” kind of a smile. And I smiled back. A big “I’m so glad you’re alive” kind of a smile.
We spent the next five hours at the hospital as Dave drifted in and out of consciousness. The doctors and nurses kept having “talks” with me. Did he leave you at any point? Does he do drugs? Are you sure he didn’t sneak off with some of the guys and do drugs? What drugs does he do? I was unwavering. He DOES NOT do drugs! This man barely drinks. They kept reiterating that this entire episode. The low heart rate. The low blood pressure. The sweating. The unconsciousness. It had every indication of a drug overdose.
And we finally realized, it was. That damn “Summer of George.” That delicious grapefruit drink? Well, it had mixed with his daily medication and caused what was essentially an overdose. Grapefruit can do that. Did you know? Certain medications have adverse reactions to grapefruit juice. Taking one pill and combining that with 6 glasses of a grapefruit juice cocktail is like taking twenty pills at one time!
He was still in and out of consciousness. And feeling really sick. But they went ahead and released us. It was 3:00 am. I found myself walking out of the hospital with a man that looked and felt like death. A zombie at my side. He was shirtless with a half shaven chest. I was told he just had to “sleep it off.” And I stood on the curb. With no fucking idea where I was. And I felt alone. Like I never have before. This shell of my man at my side. In no place to take care of me, he needed to be taken care of.
I called a cab. Dave managed to mumble our hotel name. And phase 2 of insanity was about to kick in. Dave’s phone was vibrating incessantly. It was his step mom. The one watching the kids. Dave’s Dad had to bail on the weekend with the kids at the last minute. He had a 24 hour bike race with his company (he’s like that — mega athlete.) He had been in a bike accident. It was bad. He was airlifted to a hospital in Denver. He had hit a car. He had a broken leg, neck, back, ribs, and shoulder. A fractured cheekbone. A fractured skull. And brain bleeding. On top of being in the middle of nowhere. Alone with my zombie husband. And having no clue how to get us home until my man could “sleep it off”. I was now insanely worried for his father. Who our kids lovingly refer to as “papa Mark.” And those little boys were in the care of the one person who probably wanted to rush to see him in the hospital more than anyone. I was scared for myself, Dave, his Dad, his Mom, and now my sweet little babies.
So loneliness quickly turned to fight. I would get us out of here. I would get to my kids. I would get this night behind us.
… Read the rest Friday.