Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Happy Birthday, Breeze
Yesterday Breeze turned 70; he was on my mind. It’s been ten years since I’ve seen him but I get periodic reports of sightings. Next January will mark twenty years since he became ill on a cold winter weekend. Those next three months we spent in hospitals; saving him, nourishing him, rebuilding him and rehabilitating him after skin grafts and amputations. He’d been a vibrant, jolly young fifty year old when he was diagnosed with meningitis and sepsis. The man I brought home in April '94 was old, deaf, completely disabled and mad as hell.
I miss him the most at Christmas time because he was the epitome of Holiday Spirit. Everything was a surprise and a giggle. No one loved to entertain quite as much as Breeze. Our parties, at any time of year, 4th of July to Easter, major, minor and sometimes completely contrived, were executed and planned weeks in advance. There was always a celebration on our pending calendar.
Family was important to Breeze because he’d never really had one of his own growing up. He gave the eulogy at my father’s service and for the next several years, made my mother a chief priority. That was sometimes a challenge for both as they didn’t always see eye to eye but he tolerated her sharp remarks. In turn, she softened and completely enjoyed his company, often accompanying him to Sonics, Seahawks and Mariners games and yelling right alongside when the games were on TV.
What happened to Breeze is terribly sad and when old friends conclude that he made some stupid decisions and totally messed up his life by plowing through his inheritance, forsaking most of his old buddies and consorting with undesirable people, I do point out that he didn’t ask to get sick.
When I talked to a good friend and doctor who had been on Breeze’s case from the beginning, seeking his advice when Breeze seemed to be spinning so far out of control that all the saving had been for naught, it was explained to me in unminced words how badly he was brain damaged, the multiple infections, the deprivation of oxygen for days on end. He was actually doing a lot better than the medical staff had predicted. He was just a little crazy.
The man I married has long been dead to me. The guy who came home from the hospital was a stranger. It’s been longer now that we’ve been apart than the seventeen years we were together. My home is full of reminders of our good life together and I’m glad we had it, short as it turned out to be. I hope he had a fine birthday, turning 70 yesterday and that he’s taking care of himself.