Recently, I went on a trip to California with my husband.
While I was packing, I decided to set an intention to be present with my husband for the next five days.
We have been together for 10 years.
We found ourselves falling into the everyday grind of life with our kids, our jobs and each other.
My husband is a civil engineer.
I’m a Shaman.
He works with plans and I work with spirits.
And, our kids are extraordinary individuals with enough energy to create a mini- tornado at any given moment. They are powerhouses (in a good way) that demand attention just by existing.
They have also been through painful situations like addiction, being the target for bullies, trouble learning in a traditional school system, suicidal depression and anxiety.
At one point, my husband and I gripped each other’s arms in the ER as we helplessly watched our son fight for his life after his body began shutting down from drugs.
With all of our attention on helping to heal the wounds of our children, we forgot about us.
We forgot that we used to gaze into each other’s eyes until one of us teared up.
We forgot about how we would sweat whenever we spotted the other walking down the hallway.
We forgot that we used to never be able to be within 1 foot of the other without holding hands.
We forgot to laugh ’til we cried.
We forgot about the fire of each other’s touch.
We forgot about all the emails, texts and notes we would leave each other professing our undying love.
And, I wanted it all back.
Well, the Universe began to remind me of the power of “us” even before we boarded the plane for sunny Southern Cali.
Standing in the security line at the Denver airport, something began happening to me.
Suddenly, I felt like I was going to pass out.
I whispered to my husband who was removing his shoes, “Something is not right.”
Looking around, I had no idea where I was or why I was there.
Everything got loud and slowed down.
I couldn’t access the part of my brain that could tell me what was going on.
I have no recollection of going through the security line.
My first memory was sitting on the bench after completing the security check and asking my husband who was standing next to me, “Did you go through security?”
He looked at me with concern.
When I felt like I could stand up, I latched onto the man that had stood by my side for a decade.
He held me up.
I poured all of my trust in this man as I stumbled down the escalator steps like a child still learning to walk.
This was the second time in five years that I had experienced complete confusion and memory loss.
Finally, we made it to our gate.
He told me to sit down and got me some juice, Sprite and potato chips.
He knew the drill.
I suffer from a mast cell disorder which acts like cancer and causes extremely low blood pressure.
He piled all of the food and drinks in my arms and sat down next to me, reaching for my hand.
It hit me then that being present with my husband took having an episode where I had to put my complete trust in him again.
He had always been there though, completely unwavering, from day one.
He showed up then, and he showed up now.
This man was special.
Prior to meeting him, I was a single Mom with a 9 and 10 year old.
I had cervical cancer.
I told him on our third date that I was not going to have a uterus anymore to offer him babies.
I told him he was young. I was old.
I told him to go find a hot young thing to have kids with.
He looked at me like it wasn’t even a thought that had crossed his mind.
The following week, I had a hysterectomy at the age of 33.
It was botched.
I developed a staph infection and was told to “call my kids” to possibly say goodbye.
Then I thought of this young, handsome engineer who had sent me a “Get Well” card with a big smiley face sun on the front. My mother had placed it on the window sill of my hospital room.
That card got me through hell.
As excruciating pain stabbed my pelvic region, I poured my attention into that symbol of hope.
I had been a single mom for 10 years, and I was tired.
I was so ready to not be alone, yet I did everything in my power to push this man away, until, on our fourth date, I hemorrhaged after my operation.
Infection destroyed my insides.
I yelled to him to help me, and he was there—just as he was in the airport.
I remember apologizing for dropping F-bombs as I bled profusely on his bathroom floor. After all, it was only our fourth date and I had wanted to appear demure and composed…so much for that!
He drove me to the ER with paper towels bunched between my legs and holding my hand.
He sat next to me as the doctor said that I had a hole inside of me from the hysterectomy and they weren’t sure if I was bleeding internally yet.
I made him my emergency contact. (Being high on pain killers, I thought this was outrageously hysterical!)
I barely knew him.
The Doctor said, “If he stays with you after this, keep him forever.”
Hours later, I was released from the hospital.
But, he stopped me in the doorway of the emergency room.
He pulled me in close and hugged me.
In that moment, I knew that I had come “home” after years of being away at battle.
The war that raged within died. The battle field became silent.
It was over.
After years of healing from abuse and surviving alone with two babies, there was a respite. He was “home” for me.
We never left each other’s side after this.
Two years later, we married and he adopted both of my children without blinking an eye.
And, here he was again.
His calm presence was my go-to medicine in crisis.
He was the earth beneath my feet. And he never had to “try” to be present.
He is what we all try to achieve in life—to be fully present every day so that we can enjoy life.
People, including me, spend years “practicing” presence like this. Here I was setting an intention to be there for my husband.
He was already here with me.
In our seats on the plane, I looked at him, grabbed his hand and thanked God, the Universe, the angels or whatever force put his Soul in my path.
We went on to enjoy five days of laughter.
Of making love as fiercely as we had years before.
He never let go.
I never let go.
And, that’s all there is.
Author: Sarah Norwood
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Vincent Anderlucci/Flickr