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My Rock

by Summerly Rowlands

Sterling. Izzy’s dad. My rock. My best friend.

What would I do without him? What would we do without him?

When Izzy was hospitalized, he was the calm to my storm, the facts to my emotions. The term ‘life partner’ took on a whole new meaning when we were faced with this situation and our relationship will never be the same. No one could ever imagine the things we went through together, the things we saw, the feelings we felt. Although it was a time of tension and stress, we bonded in a way we never thought we would have to. We could tell people every day for the rest of our lives what that stay was like for us and for our daughter, but no one would ever fully understand; no explanation would ever do justice.

We lived in a hospital room, we slept on a plastic couch fit for one [tiny] person, our brains were spinning 24/7, but we did our best to hold it together for our daughter and for each other. I didn’t like to leave Izzy’s side, to leave her room, but Sterling and the hospital staff continued to advise me to take a break, to see outside of the hospital walls. When it all boiled down and became too much, I decided they were right, I needed a time out. So every night we had a routine. When 3rd shift took over, we would give report and wait for Izzy’s night round of meds, and then Sterling and I would take a walk outside. We would only be out for maybe 20 minutes, but it was our time to breathe. And it was necessary. Sometimes we would talk, other times we wouldn’t, but we were together, we were in this together.

I am beyond grateful for this man, to have someone like him to lean on when I felt like things weren’t going to get better. We began to have our own language that merely consisted of eye contact and him reading me like a book. All I had to do was look over and he knew to take over. Even when he had doubt, he didn’t let me have it. He spoke when I couldn’t, he asked the questions when I was at a loss for words, he told the doctors and nurses to give us time when I wasn’t ready to see anyone, he held my hand, rubbed my shoulders, wiped away my tears, physically sat me down when I was frozen just standing and staring… always reminding me that I couldn’t change what was going on, but that Izzy was strong, she was in the best possible care, and to have hope.

He knew when I needed held, whether that was physically, mentally, emotionally… but he also knew when I needed him to be in my anger with me, and right there he stood. Next to me, with me, every second of every day. He was always more patient than I was and I thank God for that, but I still knew he felt every emotion I did; he agreed with my thoughts but shared them in a more logical way. And in those times where he did feel like losing it, he chose silence, but his silence was powerful. Every action he exposed was powerful. I cried every day. He cried once. And in that moment, I knew it was my turn to hold him.

Through the tears, the frustration, the confusion, the numbness, and the disbelief, there was also trust, faith, and love.

Sterling, thank you. I love you with all that I am.

To the moon.

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