The unbearable sweetness of being alive / by Christina Rosalie

Two nights ago DH’s blood sugar (he’s type 1 diabetic) plummeted suddenly, without warning. It didn’t come back up, despite him taking several hundred carbs over the period of a half hour---and hovered nstead in the low-low double digits, just at the fringes of consciousness. It was one of those surreal times, when I could see myself from some other vantage point: my hair pulled up in a messy pony tail, going through the motions of wrapping dryer-warmed towels his shaking shoulders, pouring more juice, trying to remain calm and easy.

Every small shred of my being was at once saturated with the sweet intensity of my love for him, and the bitter taste of fear at the back of my tongue. Like the taste of snow or nickels, I think fear tastes like metal.

After a half hour we called the paramedics, because we’d reach that point where we weren’t sure how to proceed—not knowing if things were going to improve or worsen. As we waited, the moments stretched out in long arcs across the darkness between our little house and the ambulance somewhere moving towards us, its lights like an aurora borealis of red and white. When they came through the door nearly a half hour later, his sugar had just finally escalated to within the normal range. Still, his pulse was bounding and his blood pressure surged and waned as he shifted positions. But he was okay.

They couldn’t say why what had happened, had. They couldn’t know if it were some irregularity in the chemistry of his body or in the insulin he took. But he was okay, and we went to bed, exhausted, just shy of 1 a.m. In the dark of our room, with the moon spilling onto the floor like milk, I curled my body around his. His skin smelled sweet and warm in the dark, and his breathing soon regular and even with the onset of sleep.

You can’t ever be prepared for these moments that come out of the dark to meet you. You can’t ever know when they will come or what they will bring. Therein lies the lesson: remember the sacred sweetness of each moment. Bow down to it again and again with humility—reaching over and over towards the better part of yourself that can overlook of the fact that your loved one forgot to unload the dishes, or left a circle of soap scum in the sink after shaving again, and can see instead the wonder of who they really are: eyes filling with the fullness of a smile; heart spreading out the periphery of their hands.