First Day Home
First day home from the hospital, Dee Dee lay on the couch in agony, Bridey curled up beside her. She was scared of hurting forever, scared of infection, scared to see her arm and face under all the stitches, staples, dressings, and splints. She felt like a monster. But then Bear came and knelt beside her. Stroking her good hand, he held out a little white lace pillow. At the center were her wedding ring and twin ring, remade and shiny. He proposed to her, as he had all those years ago, saying he loved her more than he knew possible.
“It was one of the first times in my life,” Dee Dee said, “I felt truly valued. In the back of my mind, I had always feared he loved me because he thought I was pretty, or young. Growing up with low self-esteem, I had often thought I was not good enough for God to love. It hit me with such force now. Bear valued me on the inside—my spirit... my soul. And so did, God. It was cathartic to feel absolutely loved.
Ferne-Ruby gave up her beautiful apartment to move back home so Bear could return to work. She prayed with Dee Dee through nightmares and numerous surgeries. Still, Dee Dee’s left hand began to curl in painfully like a claw. There was nothing more the doctors could do. “I made the difficult decision to have my arm amputated,” Dee Dee said.
“I made the difficult decision to have my arm amputated.”
Prior to the surgery, she and Bear held a prayer service with friends, and Dee Dee said goodbye to “Poor Paw” as she’d nicknamed her mutilated arm.
Your work is done,
You can leave before me now,
But you got left behind
Trapped in that nightmare night,
So I’m telling you now....
Your time is up!
You did your job so well,
You helped care for my darling babies
You rocked them gently,
You made so many gardens,
You danced so many dances,
You baked so many cakes,
You hugged so many friends.
You held Bear’s hand
A million times, you wore his ring,
Farewell Poor Paw,
That same night, Dee Dee slow-danced with Bear to Ed Sheeran’s song, "Perfect,” knowing this was the last time she would rest her left hand on Bear’s shoulder. Checking into the hospital the next morning, nervous and shaking, she realized the volunteer in the reception area was playing ‘Perfect’ on the piano. She knew God was giving her that small blessing to calm her.