Tracey Finally Read Those Posts

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I knew something was up the moment I opened my eyes in a room on the seventh floor of the Rydges hotel at Southbank.

What I couldn’t know yet is it was very nearly midday and Tracey had been waiting for me to wake for hours.

“Hi,” she said. She was lying beside me, propped up on her elbow, staring into my eyes so purposefully I wondered if maybe I was about to get lucky – and if so, what had she been into from the minibar because I needed to order a couple of boxes?

“What’s up?” I asked her.

“Nothing,” she said. “I’ve just been waiting for you to wake up. I need to kiss you now.”

Three boxes. Maybe four.

I’m here to tell you, after thinking you’ve had your last conversation with the love of your life, there is nothing better to start the day with than their smiling face. Especially, when you’re alone in a hotel room because your kids are being looked after 200kms away.

“Before I’ve brushed my teeth?”

“I read your posts,” said Tracey, planting one on me. “I love you.”

I’m not saying we cried at this point, but we welled up and held each other for a while.

“What you went through…” she said.

“I’m fine,” I said, giving her a squeeze. “I’ve still got you. So what did you make of it?”

Even though Tracey had been conscious for nearly three months, she hadn’t read through the posts I’d written while she was fighting for her life yet. She’d tried, but found she didn’t have the energy for it. And to be frank I haven’t had a problem with that because any energy she’s had has been wisely expended on the kids.

But like I said, they weren’t here.

“I didn’t cry for myself,” said Tracey of the posts. “That side of it was almost surreal. I was just asleep. But the kids…”

I nodded. “I know.”

And I did. We’ve grown up with our parents in our lives. We’ve enjoyed the best of each other for twenty years. We’ve a lifetime of experience to bolster our emotions. We’ve lost friends. We’ve lost family. We know about the flipside of life and, while we don’t want it to stop our ultimate plan of growing old and withered together, we accept you can’t choose and you take whatever joy you can get and enjoy it like there’s no tomorrow.

But the kids…they were totally unprepared.

“The bit about when you had to tell them things weren’t good,” Tracey went on, “that broke my heart.”

“I was so drunk when I wrote that,” I said. I had to be. Then I read it again the following morning because I could barely remember what I’d written. I made myself cry. I still well up when I read that post. It’s all a bit raw. “I still can’t think about it too long,” I told her.

Explaining things to the kids was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t think I could have done it without the family. I don’t have enough arms, and they needed hugs. In the past, when I’ve thought about families where a parent has died I never considered this side of things – having to explain it to the kids. I usually just think about them going forward without that parent. But that’s the moment their world changes. That’s the moment I daresay they’ll think about the rest of their lives.

“I’m so sorry they’ve had to go through that,” said Tracey.

“It’s not your fault,” I reminded her. “And don’t forget they’ve still got you. We’re both here to help them work it out.”

Which is what we’re doing. It’s our mission now.

A month out of hospital and they still get upset if Tracey needs to go to a doctor or looks worried about her bags. Their anxiety levels are through the roof. They need more hugs and one on one’s than ever.

They’re a lot like me in those respects.

But we’re getting there. And now, because someone rather sensibly suggested I keep an ICU diary, Tracey has had a glimpse of what we went through while she was sleeping.

So maybe I shouldn’t feel guilty she’d been awake for four hours that morning in a room on the seventh floor of the hotel waiting for me to wake up so she could tell me how much she loves me.

I figure I’ve got a bit of credit up on that score.

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Our view. It was lovely sitting on the balcony, sipping a beer and looking at the world while feeling grateful.
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Our Chef at date night’s Kabuki restaurant.
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And then he was gone.
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Only to return with a lovely message. To everyone who supported or even thought about us during this journey – Thank you. So much.

This was our journey during October:

4th October 2015 – I Thought I’d Lost Her

5th October 2015 – An Update On Tracey

7th October 2015 – Stable Is My New Favourite Word

9th October 2015 – No News Is Good News

11th October 2015 – Doing The ICU Cha Cha

14th October 2015 – Now We Hope And Wait And Trust

14th October 2015 – Could This Be The Turning Point

16th October 2015 – Some Comic Relief

18th October 2015 – This Can’t Be Happening

20th October 2015 – This Is It

21st October 2015 – Light The Way Home

23rd October 2015 – The Gutless Wonder

25th October 2015 – Speechless

27th October 2015 – It’s A Sign

29th October 2015 – Rooky Mistake

31st October 2015 – Appreciate The Small Things

What a month. For a long time Tracey couldn’t read these. She simply didn’t have the energy. She’d start and give up, exhausted. It was nearly two more months before she came home to our family. I would have waited a lot longer and not complained. But, Tracey, let’s not do that again.

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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”

15 Comments

  • You both I have known for many years, either having been involved in theatre or our Thursday night Karaoke at the RSL… I count you both as being some of my oldest friends. 🙂

    When I first learned Tracey of your health situation I was literally in shock! You were always there with one of the biggest smiles of anyone in Gympie, and Bruce our occasional meetings in town.

    I am extremely relieved that you have pulled through Tracey, you have a unique family there.

    If you both are in Brisbane any time soon would love to catch up over a coffee.

    Hugs,
    Trudi

  • This post is just so beautiful and every bit as moving as what you wrote while Tracey was in ICU. I can only imagine what she felt reading it all.
    I think she’d agree you did amazingly and I can only imagine how much love and reassurance those kids need. You are both such great parents and role models – in time they’re going to be just fine. They know you’ve got their backs more than ever now, even if they are still anxious (understandably).
    I hope you grow old together and get as wrinkly and (more) batshit crazy with age as possible.
    Lots of love to you all x

  • Love to you both. We all hung out for Bruces updates . Feeling his every word. Thank you yet again for this update so loving and caring you both are. Best wishes to you both and your beautiful family. We are all blest for knowing yous god bless

  • I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt I lived it with you.. hanging on every positive and dreading a negative. I don’t know you both that well but your struggle changed me and reminded me to live each day to the full. The little wave Tracey gave me the other day made my heart smile…. the only way is up xx

  • I am so glad you shared Bruce as it made me realize of how hard it must of been for my hubby and kids when l was so sick over 24 years ago. …(do not pass go….Go straight to jail (hospital) in Brissy.) Not a big fan of monopoly anymore. Our lives have never been the same since, but we have one another and a big love that can never be broken.

    Tracey we are so overjoyed that you woke up and are now right back where you belong with your family and friends. Thank you Bruce for sharing.
    It was a pleasure to pray for you and your family and l thank God for answered prayers.
    Wendy

  • Hi there, I followed your journey and actually read quite a few posts while on night duty as an RN in an ICU. I have shared your story with our nurses in an attempt to empathise with a patients journey and also the importance of looking after the families of the person laying in that bed fighting for their life. I will share this also with other families who might Benefit from your story. Thanks so much, this blog will help more people than you know xx PS we all breathed such a sigh of relief for Tracey when she finally made it out of ICU!!

  • It’s was a journey so many of us followed . I laughed n cried throughout and when all started looking Ok. I laughed n cried again. Keep getting that strength Tracey. And never let go of that crazy living caring dude ur married to. Xxx

  • You guys are beautiful!!! But this post gave me tears again!! So great to have you home Tracey!!
    I wish I had an ICU diary for my daughters, and sons time in there. I was a jelly like mess in the corner (milking room), and don’t remember a lot.
    And I think your blogs are an awesome resource for other people. Good thinking Dan!

  • Hi guys, so glad that you are getting stronger Tracey. Our thoughts and prayers have been with you throughout your ordeal. Keep strong. Bruce, you are the best. All our love.

  • It must be totally surreal for her to read. I can’t even imagine the emotions. Devastating moments with such a wonderful turn around. You are all such strong people.

  • You are both amazing the love for each just oozes out when you write the love for your children is incredible i hope they look back on this blog when they are older and realize how incredibly lucky they are

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