It's even worse when you come home alone. There are the constant reminders that he is supposed to be here.
But he isn't.
The undrunk tea I made for him, that was still just too hot to sip.
The pot roast mix he left out to use tonight because Wednesdays are the only day we can sneak in family dinners these days - and family dinners are his favorite.
The stack of Christmas books we always wrap together on the 30th to use as an advent calendar for the kids.
All of it still here with me.
But not him.
So I roll the garbage to the curb, unload the dishwasher, doll out the Zithromax - all the while talking to myself - telling myself it's just a little pneumonia, that the fever is down.
And then a little voice tells me:
"But it's not gone"
The antibiotics seem to be working:
"But they said it could be sepsis."
We all have the same illness:
"But we don't all have the same immune systems."
He's only two minutes away:
"How'd that work for you last time?"
Which always brings me to the flashback.
I don't know what it's like to have PTSD. I won't claim that I do. I only know how it feels to walk into the same hospital space, with the same holiday decorations, the same weather outside, the same path to his room, the same carols playing in the background.
It feels the F#¢?!NG SAME!
It feels like last year when nobody would look at me and seven people were poking and prodding and talking too loud at him.
It feels like being in that lobby pacing on my cell phone, tears streaming down my face trying to defend my decision to bring him to this particular place because quite frankly he wouldn't have survived the journey to Mayo.
It feels like nurses saying, "No honey, I wouldn't leave. I know you have three kids at home alone. I know you live three minutes from here, but in his condition three minutes is more than we may have."
It feels like walking into Tiny's kindergarten classroom to finding her drawing a picture of the two of them with aqua blue tears running down her face, and the words "Get well daddy" running across the top.
It feels like waking up Punk in the middle of the night to say, "You're in charge."
It feels like knowing there is nothing I'll ever love the way I love him, and knowing that my love is not enough.
It feels like that.
But I suppose that is not reality.
What is reality is that he never goes anywhere without his Sara blanket.
And that no matter what bed he's in, he will always spill Apple Cinnamon Cheerios onto it.