As we walked out of the lab after this morning's beta, Jeff held my hand and said, "Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn't. I love you."
I started to reply with the automatic, distracted, "I love you, too," when I was struck in the gut by the force of it. It is the most powerful force in my life, stronger than my will or even my self-interest. I love him more than I love myself; his happiness is more important to me. Perhaps it's something like the love that parents feel for their children. I wouldn't know.
I realize that I have shortchanged him these last few months. I have fallen apart; he has held strong--the optimist who encourages me to hope, the one who has taken care of everything, cooked every meal, held me while I cried and shook. And I fell into him, let him carry us both. I forgot to give much thought to how he might feel about failure; how deep his fear and grief might run. When I imagined it, I thought he would say, "Well, we gave it a good try. We'll try again."
When Dr. Katz called, we were sitting in a deserted restaurant. I took the call, very quietly, as he said the words I knew were coming. The "I'm so sorry." I curled my arms in front of me and walked out, unable to breathe, leaving Jeff to clean up behind me once again. To thank the waitress, pay the bill, get the food boxed up. When he got out, I saw his eyes, still dry but so very, very sad. I hadn't even hugged him, squeezed his hand, looked him in the eye when I left. I could only think of myself. But here he was, walking up to me, wanting to hold me and comfort me and feeling my disappointment more keenly than his own.
I want to give that back to him again. I want this nightmare to be over.