His name is Herrin – was Herrin. It was a beautiful name. His parents were hippies. He was 47 and reasonably fit and healthy. He was an exceptionally talented musician, a digital marketer, a devoted dad to two young sons and a loyal, loving husband.
On May 20, he complained of a pain in his chest, which he passed off as indigestion. I insisted we go to Emergency and get him checked out, just in case. An hour later, he was dead.
Watch: Robin Bailey shares how her job helped when her husband passed. Post continues below.
The last thing I said to him was, "Don’t go into the light". I wish the last thing I’d said to him was "I love you", but we shared an irreverent sense of humour and neither of us thought he was having a heart attack. It was just indigestion from the plate of nachos he ate for lunch. His blood pressure was up, but the doctors and nurses didn’t seem too concerned.
The ECG looked "a bit funny", they said. The pain subsided for a minute and he brightened up. Relief washed over his beautiful face. Yep, it was just indigestion, we can go home. That’s when I joked about not going into the light, and he laughed.
I rubbed his leg, said I’d better get out of the way and let the team do their thing. Seconds later, his legs began to shake, his body stiffened, he arched back and had a massive cardiac arrest. They worked on him for an hour.
I called his mother and we sat outside the room, listening to the defibrillator’s chilling siren, a blur of beeps and serious but calm voices. It was all under control, surely. Then everything went quiet. Great, they’ve stabilised him, I thought. The doctors and nurses filed out of the room in slow motion, looking at the floor.
"Is he okay?" I heard a tiny voice ask a futile question. It didn’t sound like me. No words can adequately convey the feeling of losing someone you love suddenly and unexpectedly, but here goes.
It feels cold and dark and terrifying and sickening. It is utterly surreal. Incomprehensible. Unbearably painful. The pain is all-encompassing and overwhelming.
A steel-capped boot kicking you repeatedly in the guts, day and night. A mind that won’t stop racing and reversing time, back to when something different could have been done. Falling endlessly into a bottomless, hollow pit of despair. A nightmare that begins every morning when you wake up.
We were together for 11 years, married for two. Our relationship was far from perfect and we had many challenges to work through in order to reach a place of happiness and contentment. We constantly forgave each other for our faults and flaws and shared a very real, honest and enduring love.