From my office above our garage, I heard the motor stop dead in its tracks. In hindsight, the silence should have been a big red flag for me, but I hear this all too often, the start and stop of the snow blower in winter. We know it was probably time to buy a new one, as this one has seen its days and worked when it felt like it.
I’ve been replaying the words in my head this past week, over and over and over, even as I settled in bed for the night, these words keep coming back to me. The voice I know so well and love so dearly, calling out for me. “ I need your help, I cut my fingers off”!!!
As the front door flies open and I hear his plea for help, I jump out of my office chair and down the office steps, feeling my heart beat out of my chest, and thinking is this really happening? I recall tripping over our new puppy gate leading into the living room yet catching my fall as I headed for the phone to dial 9-1-1. I quickly scurried around the kitchen while talking with the operator, thinking of what else I need to take to help him. I grab a kitchen towel, throw on my boots and notice the flowers that he just laid on the table for me as he arrived home from work shortly before this surreal moment. My heart sinks into my chest a little bit further. I run out the door, phone to ear, to catch up with my husband who was heading back out to the snow blower. I follow the trail of blood drenched snow on the front porch leading down the steps and down the driveway to where he was so desperately trying to find the finger tips that disappeared so violently into the cold snow bank. Moments later I could hear the distant sound of the ambulance as I pressed the towel firmly to his bloody hand, praying to God to make this turn out okay.
Sparing us all from reliving the gory details of this incident, I will quickly jump to the more important aspect of the reason I am writing this down in words.
It is the reason I needed to remind you all how fragile life is at any given moment. It is the reason I need to let my husband know how sorry I am that this happened to him, yet how blessed I am that it wasn’t any worse.
There is never time to process what is happening, while it is happening, when the person you love, the rock of your family, your soul mate, husband, and best friend, tells you something like this. You just move forward, pray, and try to keep yourself together to stay strong for him. This is the man who extends his hand to everyone who is in need of help, regardless of the situation. On this cold snowy winter evening in New England, it was no different than any other day, as he extended his hand to help the elderly woman across the street, except that this time, part of that helping hand was taken away.
How does one come to terms with this? If you know my husband, you know that he is one of the most thoughtful, helpful persons around. He has worked around machinery his whole life, tending to tractors and motors and farm equipment on my parent’s farm, even as a young teenager when we had first met. Here in Nashua, he is known as the local “handyman”, who helps many with whatever they need. He is one of the smartest, most honest persons I know, who knows how to do all of these things, but in the cold of the night, something snapped and there was no turning back time.
Two fingertips from my right-hand man may be an inconvenience for awhile, but it is insignificant to who he really is. He was doing what he does every day-extending a hand in love. Those words keep coming back to me over and over again, and I imagine in time it will fade, but yes I wish we could reverse time to before I heard the silence of the motor, so that I could head out to tell him to be careful. But sometimes we never fully learn or understand why bad things happen to good people.
But what I do know is that he will always be my right-hand man.
He may be missing two fingertips on his right hand, but he still has his heart/my heart, his soul/my soul, and nothing can take that away from us, not even a junkie ole snow blower.
And I couldn’t love him more.