The Pieces I Keep: Notes

They tell a story. I piece together those final days from the notes in my iPhone. I piece together those final months of doctor's appointments.

His vital signs, which I'd record every time we'd visit the doctor, every time he'd be admitted to the ER, every time he'd go in for chemo, every time he was admitted to the hospital. It wasn't enough for me that Kaiser or Stanford or the Radiology Center record the information, I needed it, too. I needed to know. I needed a record. I needed something I could control because everything else was so far out of my control. Everything.

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Things would get worse. So much worse, but on that day, they weren't so bad.

And life, it needed to go on, groceries needed to be bought. Even in the final days, groceries…this from the day before Bob died.

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The Jell-O and pudding were for Bob. He could still eat those. Then, he couldn't. So quickly, he couldn't eat anything. Wouldn't. Closed his mouth and refused to eat or drink, just wouldn't.

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I made notes to myself. I had to remind myself about what he said, what he wanted, and who he was so that I could keep going without falling apart. It's not that I didn't know these things, but in the midst of grieving, I was so overwhelmed that I had to beat myself over the head with it. I knew that if I stopped for too long, stayed still for too long, I would fall into a hole from which I might not emerge, and that was not an option.


Life kept going, even the most mundane details. I still had to make lists to remind myself of the simplest things. I still do. I have no intention of deleting them. They remind me of a very important journey. My life. Bob's life. Our life.