“Share your memories! (3 years ago)” Yeah, that’s what Facebook likes to do to me every year on June 9th. It helpfully pops up a notification, showing me a picture I took on that date in 2014, that I might like to share with the world. It’s such a heartwarming gesture by the team at Facebook (or timehop, or Google Photos, or any other “assistant” service, really) to helpfully suggest that “Hey there, old buddy! Looks like you had a big moment 3 years ago that we’re so sure you remember that we’re going to assist you in making sure EVERYONE remembers it!”
It’s a picture of Megan, in a colorful gown.
A hospital gown, that is. She’s also heavily sedated, with no less than 5 different IV lines, a feeding tube, looking not unlike a string of spaghetti, fed through her nose and into her stomach. There’s also “space boots” (as Shelby called them) on her ankles to keep clots from forming in her motionless legs. The cherry on top is the plastic tube, so triumphantly shoved down her throat, to ensure, you know, she has oxygen going into her bloodstream. Her mouth is agape because of the intubation, her eyes are closed (thank god, she had this creepy thing where her eyes would be half open when sedated a lot of the time), and her arms are limply at her side. It’s a sad sight to behold, and “No, MyFaceGoogleBook, I DON’T want to share it! In fact, it would be nice if you’d stop reminding me, since I didn’t share it in 2014, 2015, or 2016, you can safely assume I’m not doing it in 2017”
Then, why did I TAKE the picture? Well, because when Megan was admitted on that beautiful June day in 2014, we could only expect that she would soon have a second lung transplant. She was a model patient in receiving her first one, doing all of her workups and testing, having little complications from the surgery itself, and in following her recovery instructions and rehabilitation above and beyond what the hospital required. The doctors also told us that they wouldn’t bat an eye to grant her a second-second chance, and that she could "comfortably" be in this sedated state, on life support, more than long enough for "the call" to happen.
So I took the picture as part of a daily email I began sending her. A “journal” of sorts of where she was on a given day, with the thought that when she was finally awake and aware after her transplant, we could look back on these emails and pictures with an appreciation of how much the rejection and the lead-up to transplant sucked, but we could laugh about it now. This picture was the “Day 1” email’s closeout.
I did exactly as planned. I sent her an email, every day after I got home from visiting her. Summing up how she was doing, what the doctors were saying, what Shelby and I did that day, what her friends (who I also had daily calls with) were asking or doing, and how I was feeling about things.
This went on for about a month. She had been taken off of the heavy sedation at that point, received a tracheotomy (that I had to approve on her behalf), and was only ventilated at night. She could talk with a raspy voice. She had read all of the emails, and appreciated them to no end, but since she was lucid now, and time was dragging on, we decided that the emails were just becoming repetitive. At that point every day was just “Well, we’re still waiting. Your weight, pulseox, and blood pressure are these numbers.”
The daily emails stopped. They became weekly. Then they became every 10 days. Then only when milestones or major changes happened, while she was repetitivley sedated, then lucid, then sedated. We reached 100 days since she was admitted. Then 150. Then 163. On day 164, there was no one to send an email to.
I still have every email I sent her. I can re-live every minor detail of her rejection, hospital stay, and death if I so desire. I don’t need someone telling me to remember it, and truthfully, I don’t even need the emails...I remember all of that bullshit as if it was today.
But there’s a twist now. Sarah’s anniversary of the start of her relationship with Drew is June 6th (or 7th, or 8th, depending on how she defines it that year), and the anniversary of Drew’s death was yesterday, June 12th.
I KNEW this picture was coming, because I am in a relationship with a widow who ALSO has significant dates in early June. I was mentally prepared to wake up Friday morning, take a glance at my phone as I got ready for work, and see a picture of Megan lying there like an 89 pound laboratory experiment. I’m GENTLY reminded by Sarah’s reminders that a reminder about something is coming. I bawled my ass off on June 9th, 2015, when Sarah and I were on our second trip together, in Virginia Beach...I was too caught up in that trip to think about the fact that I might get an unexpected reminder from my phone, and there it was. Thank god Sarah was present on that one. It caught me off guard in 2016, when I was sitting at work, and my phone “dinged” and a picture of Megan appeared. Threw me off for the whole damned day and weekend afterwards. This year, I already knew it was coming.
I almost appreciated it, because hey, at least something that I expected happened exactly as planned. It’s one of those days that you would like to forget, but in your heart, you know you shouldn’t. June 9th, 2014 was the very last day that she woke up beside me in the morning. I mean, it was 3:30 in the morning, and we were off to the emergency room, but nonetheless, it was the last time. She got two chances to come home after that, and both times, she had to sleep on the couch, with me monitoring a home based ventilator, and she was back in the ICU within 18 hours, having far too much anxiety and pain to feel comfortable at home.
That’s it. Maybe 30 hours, out of 163 DAYS that she was home before her death. June 9th, 2014 is the day we lost Megan as we knew her. She didn’t die that day, that month, or even that season, but she was no longer able to be Shelby’s mom in the sense that we had come to know. No more dates, day trips, hikes, gardening, home improvement projects, reading to Shelby, movies, etc. She was gone. Peanut and I were on our own from that day forward.
So no, Facebook and Google, you don’t have to remind me about a “fun memory” I had three years ago. I didn’t need your “year in review” either in 2014. I have plenty of my own memories, and being with a widow now who herself has dates to remember, I replay my own even more. I keep records and logs of all sorts of things, often times using your services for just that, but it is MY perogative of when and where I want to be reminded. Go sit in the corner and shut up.