Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Devastated

About 6 years ago in February 2004, I was a member of Match.com. Well, not a paying member. I signed up just to see who was out there, and if any connections could be made. One day, I got a nice message from a handsome young man, and he seemed intriguing. He had said that he also dealt with heart issues (I clearly stated that I had PH in my profile. Why not, better just to be out with it in the beginning than being crapped on later). I took a look at his profile, and thought I'd like to get to know him. The only way I could reply to him, though, was by paying for a membership. Argh. I didn't really want to do that, but something told me it would be worth signing up. And besides, I could do a 3-day free trial! So, I signed up, was able to write him back, and cancelled my membership 3 days later. And that was the beginning of my wonderful friendship with a man named Euan.

Euan and I shared so many things in common. We both understood what it was like growing up feeling different, being more limited than the other kids we were around, including our siblings. We shared our feelings on what it was like knowing that some of our dreams just would never happen. But we also shared how we made new dreams. Dreams that weren't so impossible for us to achieve. We shared so many laughs, so many "Oh my gosh, you feel that way, too?" moments, it never seemed to end. We wrote very long emails to each other, and even spent time on the phone. The connections we had to each other was always amazing to me.

After almost 2 years, Euan and I actually met each other in person in December 2005. He came over here a couple days after Christmas, and we met at the Tim Horton's near my house. I remember when he called me to tell me he was over the border (yes, Euan was Canadian). I was so nervous. I waited a few more minutes before getting into my car, and then I went to TH. I parked in the lot, and looked around. I couldn't tell if he was already there, and I admit a small part of me was so freaked that I almost didn't go in. But, I got out, went to the door, and got ready to open it when I saw him sitting at a table in the corner. He noticed me and smiled, and I swear, my heart did flips. Somewhere inside of me, deep down, something told me he was the person I was supposed to be with. I'm not sure where that came from, but it was like a what? kind of feeling. We gave each other a big hug, ordered some lunch, and had the best hour just talking almost nonstop (we did have to eat in between sentences!). He surprised me with a box and a beautiful snowglobe inside. It wasn't expected at all, and I found it to be so sweet. After our short visit (we both had other things going on that day), we said our goodbyes, promising we'd get together soon to hang out and spend even more time getting to know each other in person.

That meeting didn't happen until August 2007. In between that time, so many things happened. Euan's health went back and forth often, to the point where he had to move back home with his parents. There were long periods of time when I wouldn't hear from him, but I usually sent an email here and there just letting him know I was thinking about him. In the summer/fall of 2006, Euan spent many weeks in the hospital, and we reconnected again. We talked almost every day online, and he said those chats helped that hospital stay seem not so dreary. It was that time when I admitted to him that I liked him. He was so surprised, and yet, he told me that he liked me, too. And then I was surprised! Our conversations then started turning into ones that involved so many more feelings. He got out of the hospital, and we continued to talk for months after, but not quite able to get together. In August 2007, his parents brought him here, and went to dinner while Euan and I chatted away. It was like we'd been hanging out forever. We had been, just not in person. We were having such a great time, until we kissed. Well that wasn't horrible, it was really wonderful. But his heart didn't like it so much. It was beating so fast, and not slowing down at all, and I felt so awful about it. He called his parents, and they picked him up and almost raced to the border so they could get to Toronto. We looked back at that time and laughed about it, but I really couldn't believe that that had happened!

Eventually Euan was ok, and back home, but for the next almost year, we weren't able to get back together. We did, however, spend that year falling in love. We talked so much during every week. Hours at a time. We shared stories and laughs and secrets. We wondered what it would be like after he got his transplant and would be able to come over all the time so we could be together (something we both wanted so badly). On Valentine's Day in 2008, Euan and I had a "date," and he took me to romantic places around the world. He'd send me links to live webcams in Niagara Falls, Rome, Times Square, Cancun, London and Paris. Just to name a few. We watched what was happening in those places, and pretend we were there enjoying them, too. We held hands as we walked across the street in Times Square. We kissed at the palm tree in St. Croix. We wondered if his family was awake in foggy London so we could visit them. It was the most romantic Valentine's Day I had ever spent with someone, even if we were just visiting the world from our computers. I will never forget that creative adventure Euan planned for us.

By the springtime of 2008, Euan and I kept trying to make plans for me to come visit. We had a day picked out, and then something came up with him. Another day was planned, and then I thought I was coming down with a cold, and I didn't want to expose him to anything. We tried yet again to get together, and something else happened that didn't allow me to get over there. It was frustrating to both of us, but more to him. He started to feel that we weren't going to work out, and he kept giving me long reasons for how he was feeling and everything. To me, it felt like he was giving in too easily. I wanted to be with him no matter how long I had to wait, because as I told him many times, I thought he was worth it. Things ended badly between us by the early fall, and I just said I couldn't talk to him anymore. We kinda said our last goodbyes, and that was it.

I was so upset over everything that I deleted most of my memories of him from my blog. I got rid of every email he ever sent me. The picture we took of that night he was over here, deleted. The physical picture I had, torn up. I only kept the parts of my blog that I wrote when I first started talking to him back in 2004. At the time, I thought that was worth remembering.

Months went by, and I missed Euan terribly. I kept wondering how he was doing healthwise. Finally in April 2009, I decided to send him a brief email to find out how he was, mainly because I had so many signs reminding me of him that I thought I needed to find out. I wrote saying I hoped he was well, and that I understood if he didn't want to hear from me at all. It wasn't long or drawn out. It was just an email to reach out to him because I knew deep down inside that I would always care for him.

Euan wrote back the next day. He apologized to me for everything that happened that previous fall, and explained that he knew it was mainly his fault. He had seen so many family members, friends, former coworkers able to get married, have kids, move on with their lives, and he was stuck not being able to do anything because he was sick. And he said he took that out on me, which he never intended. He hoped that we could keep in touch again because, as he put it, he felt like he had lost his best friend after all the months we didn't talk. He said he would totally understand if I didn't want that, but to know that he did still care.

Ever since then, Euan and I had written back and forth, and been able to chat online. It was almost like nothing had happened. In the last few months, I started to realize those feelings we had for each other never went away. I made a comment to him one night that I was seriously considering moving down South because of how frozen I've become during the winter. He immediately said I couldn't do that because after he got his transplant, one of the first things he wanted to do was come over here to see me again and give me a big hug and kiss. I was kinda surprised, but also a bit delighted. Several weeks ago, I had fresh flowers here, and we got talking about how neither of us get flowers from anyone. He told me he'd buy them for me, and I said I'd do the same. I actually looked up flower deliveries, but holy crap, they are so expensive. He said they were, but that meant we'd just have to be creative like the Virgos we are and come up with a different plan. We also got to talking about writing each other letters. Like, actual live paper letters that you have to put a stamp on the envelope and send. So, after a few days of thinking, I made flower stationary and wrote him a letter. I know it took a week and a half later for him to get it, but he did. That was March 2nd. From that time until yesterday, Euan and I hadn't been able to talk. I know that he wasn't doing very well during that time period, and he had to go back on IV Lasix at home. His veins were shot, and the home nurse was going to call the doctor to come up with a better plan.

Then Euan got his call for a heart transplant at 1:29am Tuesday morning. By the time I had seen that, it was around 10am, and he was already in surgery. I was so beyond thrilled, I was crying so hard. All the hopes, all the dreams that Euan had for his future hinged upon him getting his new heart, and he was getting it! Finally, after 3 years of waiting, and 3 years of his health drastically declining. Euan was getting his chance, and maybe, just maybe, that meant in the future, we'd get our chance. Euan wanted that so much, and so did I.

At 6:17pm, Euan died. He had gotten his new heart, yes. But there was a complication during surgery. When Euan was 8yrs old, he had surgery to put a conduit into his chest. Honestly, I'm not exactly sure how it worked, but it was placed in there to keep his heart from crapping out so early in life. He had it for 29 years. Because of that time, the conduit grafted itself to Euan's lungs. And when the surgeons tried to remove it, it ripped a hole in the lobes of the lungs. The worst thing that could've ever happened. There was a 50/50 chance that Euan would make it if they patched the hole and deflated his lung. However, he passed away peacefully.

I cannot even begin to describe how shocking and horrifying and unbelievable this is to me. I am so devastated. I can't understand why this happened. Euan waited for so long, for soooo long, for his new heart. His dad told me he was upbeat right before surgery and looking forward to the future. I just don't understand why he couldn't get that chance. I know things happen for a reason, but why oh why did he have to spend all this time hoping and praying and waiting for his turn, only for it to go horribly wrong at the end?? I'm at a total loss. I've lost someone I loved so much, yet again. I know these things happen, but it's just more than I can bear.

5 comments:

CL said...

Oh, Colleen. I cannot tell you why, though I wish I could. I ache for you. You wrote beautifully about Euan. Thank you for sharing a very private piece of your life with us. I will offer you no platitudes, just love.
<3 CL

Cathy said...

Hey Loca
Im so sorry about your loss, you wrote beautifully about Euan. I ask myslef the same questions. why?
We will never know....
I am here for you ok, know that alot of us care and love you !
(((HUGS)))

Jen said...

Hey Loca,
My heart aches with you. I know how very much Euan meant to you and know that you two should have gotten to spend more time togtehr. I know as I said, we should not ask why, but it just does not make sense.
Please call me anytime, I am always here for you my friend!!
I rememeber that Valentine Date, you shared..too cute!
Plesae take care of yourself, I am so sorry about Euan.

Love, hugs & prayers are with ya...Love ya lots...

Bonnie said...

Colleen, I'm sorry I can't even think of any words to help you except that you are loved by many. I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts. Please stay strong.
Love ya, Bonnie

Annette said...

Oh, Colleen...I had no idea! I lost my list of phriend's blogs and, by chance, I found yours. I also remember that special Valentine's day. I also remember how hard it was on you when you two broke up. I'm so very glad that you were able to reconnect these last few months. Oh sweetheart, you have experienced too much loss in your life. I'm so very, very sorry.
much, much love
annette