“Life is too short to WAIT.” Most of the life lessons that we learn do not come with ease. No, we are tested and that comes with some annoyance or hardship. This lesson was the hardest for me.

I knew that I was speeding down the freeway too fast. But, it was 5:30am and there was hardly anyone around. That was the day that I wanted to get to work early to get ready for my clinical hours. Manuel, my husband was on his way to the Metrolink Parking lot. He took the train everyday, but today he would take the early one to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Wednesdays were the days he had an early class. He was going for his International Business degree. So, that morning we kissed, he took the trash out and got into his car and left, and I did the same.

The time was six o’clock by the time that I arrived at work. I barely heard on the news that there was a Metrolink accident that had just happened. My work as a Physician Assistant was fulfilling for me. It was a priviledge to work in the Hepatology department at UCI. My patients were all Hepatitis C positive, and taking powerful drugs with some horrible side effects. I was preparing everything needed for each patient when the others began to file in. Nobody mentioned the ‘crash’ to me and soon we went to the clinic. Everybody there seemed to be whispering around me, but I continued. Minutes later my supervising physician asked if I needed some water. This was so strange to me. Then my cell phone rang. My son told me that he was at the site of the accident and he thought that Dad was on that train. My first thought was no, he usually takes the six o’clock train. My thoughts were getting muddled but I did remember that today was Wednesday and Max was right. He was on that train.

I knew that Manuel was fine and most likely helping those that were hurt. That was how he was. Max pleaded with me to come home, but I couldn’t. There was one patient who had not arrived for his appointment yet. He was late again. If he did not show up this time, his medicine would be canceled and he was already negative. So, I waited. After I took care of him, I walked to the parking lot and started my long drive home. The news was blaring with nonstop talk about that train accident. Then those words, “They are leaving the dead bodies in the trains” rang in my head straight to my heart and I knew that he was dead. My world fell apart right there on the 405 Freeway.

Manuel had been my everything, my hero, my superman for thirty years. How could I live in a world without that precious man. And, how would our beautiful children handle this paralyzing shock? The Sheriff came to tell us personally but it was all a fog. That night many deputies stayed at our house to keep the media away. My house was filled with family, neighbors and friends. I went to bed after I screamed when a picture of Manuel came onto our large screen TV.

The one thing that I knew for sure was that he had no regrets when he passed over and I would never have any regrets for the life that we lived. I had no doubt that he loved me. And there was never a question that I loved him.
No Time to Waste

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