Some stories are hard to tell

One particular Saturday, Steph and I went on a long country drive, wandered through a small town's proudest park, watched a deer munching some grass and the deer watched us. We spent thirty bucks in a cheese store, and got a mango smoothie (Steph's favorite) at Culver's. All of it was great fun, and I can't remember hardly any of the details. What I remember most clearly is that we wandered into an utterly bland chain-dollar-store in that tiny town, and bought a new, bright blue plastic hamper at a really good price, and Steph was delighted. The littlest things usually gave her the biggest smiles.

Stephanie and I had so many happy days and nights like that, but such memories don't make for compelling stories to be told. There's not a lot to be written or read about Steph and me just hanging out at home, feeling warm and comfy together — that's the whole story.

Other one-sentence short stories: Steph and me sitting in a coffee shop all morning, reading books or newspapers and sipping java. Steph and me going to the movies. Steph and me going shopping, and then putting away the groceries. Steph and me eating dinner, and laughing at stupid stuff, or telling each other what happened in our separate days. Steph and me just quietly being in love was 90-95% of our time together, and it was magic, heavenly.

We sat, we walked, we talked, we laughed and we cried, for years and years but not as many years as we wanted. Almost all of it was lovely and enjoyable, but most of it doesn't yield lovely and enjoyable storytelling years later.

Stephanie was the light of my life, so life without her is — well, maybe not pitch black, but it's very poorly lit. Most days are boring, some days are OK, but every day is worse than it would've been if she were here. Every hour. Every errand. Every sneeze is worse, now that there's no-one to say gesundheit. I miss Stephanie so much, sometimes I wish she would haunt me like in the movie The Ghost and Mrs Muir, but I know better and so did she. We didn't believe in life after death or reincarnation or the supernatural, or any such poppycock.

* * * * * * * * * *

We also had some not-so-delightful days and nights, all fueled by worries and frustrations over Stephanie's medical battles against what's called the "health care system" in America. That's a story that needs to be told, and Steph would want it on the record, because if we don't tell what happened, you'll think Stephanie simply had a rough diagnosis.

Well, she had several rough diagnoses, but that's just humanity — everybody has medical issues, sooner or later, followed by death. It's not my intent to complain about that, because that's just life. All you'd hope is that when it's your turn to have medical issues, the doctors and nurses and clinic staff provide competent care and treat you with respect. That ain't a lot to ask, is it? And that's what compels some complaining.

The truth is, Stephanie sometimes she did receive adequate medical care, occasionally excellent medical care ... and she often received medical care that was disgraceful, downright dangerous, and ought to be illegal. It was infuriating, and there wasn't much we could do about it while she was alive, for reasons I'll explain — but not today.

Living through years of uncaring medical care was horrendously frustrating for Stephanie. Am I angry about that? You bet your sweet bippy I'm angry, and so was she. So, yeah, I'm going to tell those stories, and name a few incompetent medical practitioners by name. That's the least I can do in Steph's memory and honor, so you can count on it. Consider today's final five paragraphs a preview of coming attractions.

I'm not tough enough to write about that today, but soon.