He Almost Lost the Memory of the One He Loved Most

car accident

 ©Lisa Rae Preston

Jake sighed with relief as the doctor’s words sank in.  “We’ll keep her tonight for observation, but I think she’ll be okay.  She’s a lucky woman.  Most people don’t survive an accident like that.”

The clock read 10:23.  Just five hours before he’d been in a meeting, presenting his idea for a new marketing plan at work.  Seemed like an eternity ago.

Jake was thankful for his lifelong friend, Ronald, who’d driven to the hospital the moment he’d heard than Angela had lost control of the car and dropped over the embankment.  “I don’t know what I would have done without you,” he confessed to his friend.  “Thanks for being here.”

Ronald smiled.  “The news is good!  Angela is resting.  You’re blessed, Man.”

Jake’s throat tightened.  In his panic and stress, he’d forgotten.  Three years ago, Ronald’s wife Paula had passed away of breast cancer.  And here he was, comforting him  – praying that his Angela would survive the crash.

As if he knew his friend’s thoughts, Ronald began reminiscing.  “I loved her like crazy,” he began.  “I’ll never forget the day I lost the biggest account of my life and then my job.  When I told her we’d have to start over, she smiled and hugged me, assuring me that she had been thinking about doing something different.  She acted as if we were on some big adventure.  Never criticized me once in the whole move.”

Jake smiled, appreciative of the change in conversation.  He listened as his friend told of his vivid memories of his wife, as if he’d just seen her yesterday.  The stories comforted him and for some odd reason, unnerved him.

When his friend left, Jake kissed Angela’s cheek, covered her up as well as possible with the IV still in, and re-positioned himself in the vinyl recliner, hoping for some sleep.

sled burredAll he could think about was the precious times he and Angela had experienced in their six years of marriage.  For some reason, his memories felt faded.  He couldn’t see clearly to share the same kinds of stories Ronald had shared about his wife, even though she’d been gone for three years and Jake had just seen Angela a few hours earlier.  Why couldn’t he remember all the good times as clearly?

His thumbs trembled instinctively.  He paused before grabbing his phone to check for texts.  He’d just checked a moment ago, but it was habit.

And then his throat tightened.  That was it!  The reason he couldn’t remember Angela clearly was that the majority of the time they were together, one hand was on his phone.  How many times had he checked out while she was talking to him and checked the latest text message?  How many times had he urged her to hurry up so he could get back to his screen?

Panic enveloped him as he reconstructed the memories.  Alaskan cruise – he could see the two of them on the ship, but could barely make out anything but the food and crowds dancing.  Simple meals at home – he could see the food on the table as she often cooked his favorites.  But what did they talk about?  Again, his thumbs moved as if texting a message to his brain.

This woman he loved, who shared his life for six years – he couldn’t remember clearly.  He touched her hand and whispered, “Who are you, Angie?  Where have I been?”

cellphoneAnd for the first time in longer than he could recall, he pulled out his phone and turned it off.  Not that it mattered, as he couldn’t make calls in the hospital room anyway.  But Jake knew he’d missed out on years of memories that Ronald had made and he hadn’t.  What if Angela hadn’t survived the accident?  What would he have left of their marriage?

Faded memories.  A longing to reconnect, but no way to see through the fog.

Determined to change the course of his marriage, he stood up, brushed his wife’s hair from her eyes and promised, “Things are changing around here, Angie. I don’t want to lose you.  And tonight I realized, I’ve already lost the best of 6 years.”

His eyes misted as he continued, “Let’s start over, Babe.  And I promise, this next leg of the journey will be a grand adventure.  One we’ll both remember.”

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Transparency that Transforms

photo by Chris O'Brien and Ellipsis Imagery

photo by Chris O’Brien and Ellipsis Imagery

I admit that I feel somewhat embarrassed to share this post.

Out of decency and respect, such naked transparency seems like it should be kept private.

Yet thousands have seen this video, and many more are being made aware through media streams.

I had never heard of Ron Carpenter before last night. But I will never forget his story.

His ability to communicate rivets people from every Core-Brilliance type. No matter what our core-lingo, we can all resonate with raw authenticity.

Ron’s confession of events that nearly destroyed his family and his precious authenticity spill such love. His courage and humility herald hope amidst unspeakable pain.

This video has been temporarily made the home page of his website, and I am assuming that will last for just a few days more.

I have been so moved and changed inside by viewing this story, I wanted to share it with you.  ron carpenter

This man’s words, both heart-wrenching and inspiring, challenged me to reach for more authentic communication inside myself and in my own relationships.

If we all had this much courage to speak our feelings boldly, what healing could occur?  

His story starts at 2:28.

Ron, may you and your family be blessed with beauty for ashes!

Lisa Rae Preston