(I’ve been thinking for a while, about doing a series of blog posts talking about individual songs that had some major emotional impact on me, or that I associate with some time in my life. This is the first one.)
When my son was born, my wife had a C-Section, and it got infected. He was born on Friday, she was released on Tuesday, and by Friday she was back in the hospital. There had been several signs that we should have taken care of it earlier, and my wife had been vocal with the doctors and nurses, but they thought everything had been normal.
The infection was a form of flesh eating bacteria (not the fastest, but just as destructive). She stayed the night, in the hospital, her mother stayed with her, so I could go home with the baby. She had surgery that night, and in the middle of the night, I got a call asking for permission to give her a blood transfusion.
My mother, and sister watched the baby, so that I could go the next morning to see her at the hospital, and find out what was going on. On my way, I heard a song that I had never heard before, “7 Years” by Lukas Graham.
As I drove, I listened and the song told me “Once, I was eleven years old, my daddy told me, ‘Go get a wife or you’ll be lonely.’ Once I was eleven years old. I’ve always had that dream, like my daddy before me.” I was instantly in tears. My family will tell you, that I’ve been talking about having a wife longer than I can remember, and Sarah, my actual wife, is so much better than the hypothetical wives of my young imagination, and here I was potentially driving to see her die.
When I got there, I was told about how she had been close to death, and if we had waited much longer to get her to the hospital there was a very good chance she would have died. Things were getting better, but she wasn’t out of the woods yet. I spent the day there, and went home and held my son, and cried, looking at him, knowing that not only did I want to grow old with Sarah, but that I wanted him to grow up with her.
I had never felt such shame and guilt as staring at my baby, and knowing that he almost lost his mother. Because I had been so tired, and I thought she was exaggerating about the pain, I didn’t want to go to the hospital on Friday, and if we had followed my instincts she likely would have died.
My mother, and sister had just started a comedy special before I got home, and it was paused, because they were sure I didn’t want to watch it, but I felt so numb to everything else, that I told them to go ahead and watch it, while I ate something and fed my son. It was Chris Hardwick’s Funcomfortable Special. It made me laugh, and just for the twenty minutes or so I watched, it allowed me to escape.
I went to bed that night, and I planned on going back in the morning. My mother and sister, had set up a system of people to help me with the baby, so that I could go see Sarah during the day, and I didn’t need to think about it at all.
Everyday, as I drove into work, the radio played the song, and each day different pieces broke me down, “my woman brought children for me.”
By Wednesday, my wife was in good enough condition to bring the baby to see her, by Friday she got out of the hospital. She often tells her mother and me that she feels like she lost the first four days, and she doesn’t have a full sense of just how bad it got. She doesn’t remember most of the details, and she never had to see the tubes, and the doctors coming back and forth updating us, and telling us the risks going forward.
Within about three months, the wound was healed, and now more than a year later, you’d never know by looking at her what happened. And I’m so grateful for the outcome, but every time I hear that song, I lose control and I cry. It happened a couple of months ago in front of my in-laws, and I had to walk into the other room, and it happened at the drive-thru a few weeks ago, and I suspect that for the rest of my life that song will turn me into a blubbering fool. But it will also remind me of what I ultimately didn’t lose, and help me to appreciate the most incredible woman I’ll ever know.