Golden — a poem about supporting a loved one surviving critical illness in ICU — NaPoWriMo Day 9
This poem tells the story of what it was like to support my partner and fiancee as she survived a stroke in ICU. These words came to me after we spent some time at that same hospital today, a year and a half later, for a follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon who saved her life. Long story short, we are blessed beyond belief. I could elaborate but I think I’ll let the poem speak for itself.
I wrote you a letter each night that you were gone,
then tied them together with a silver thread
and hooked them onto your wristband,
praying that the pull would bring you home.
I drove the 12 miles that felt like 12 million,
every day scaling the heights to be by your side.
I deciphered the conflicting reports
and called in favors from kingdom come,
closing my eyes to what was before me
with faith that your time was not yet up.
We lined up our prayers like crystals in the sand.
Our chakras on the mend, we were clay in God's hands.
We centered ourselves in the eye of the storm—
steadied ourselves before the waves crashed to shore.
Things got worse, and then worsened some more.
We kept breathing, holding tight to the gilt strands.
One day, one moment, one second at a time,
putting trust into strangers with clipboards,
planting love into your body and mind.
My methods were unorthodox and challenged.
Undeterred, I pressed forth and held on.
My convictions were all I had left to cling to.
It was not a time to be less than headstrong.
Night by night, more strength, more fight.
More love, more laughter, more light.
Three weeks in, we unhooked the machines,
unlocked the brakes, and rolled you out of ICU
into a private room where I could stay too.
Life began again in that blessed space,
you sleeping soundly, me giddy and awake.
Takeout and movies, loved ones and gifts.
It was a hyperspeed blur of relief and happiness.
We were holding aces in a place where few had a hand,
golden with a glow we don't deserve and can't understand.
I appreciate you, appreciate the fact that you survived.
I acknowledge that I'd be long gone now if you were not alive.
Our most despondent days delivered us from destruction—
gave us meaning and a reason to keep on creating—
to stay and make a mark before we flee in unison.
Photo by: Alexandru Acea