The Lake Effect

The Lake Effect: An Excavation of Love and Loss is a creative nonfiction memoir. And it’s almost complete!

Here’s a taste of the book…the prologue:

I hate Ativan.

You might question the value of harboring hatred for an inanimate object, but I have my reasons. For one, I lose my husband when he takes it. As if the weight of the potential loss of him to leukemia isn’t enough. He loses his mind on the drug.

In fact, yesterday I lost him literally.

It was a bright Chicago spring morning—daylight savings had not yet stolen the light. As we drove to the hospital to check Jim’s lung capacity—or lack thereof—I joked how lucky we were to have a date night. Between our newborn twins, and hospital check-ins, check-outs, check-back-ins, being alone in the car together in route to more unsatisfying encounters with Jim’s doctor, Dr. Stiff—yes, Dr. Stiff—offered the closest thing to intimacy between us.

Jim laughed back hoarsely, his voice stolen from months of chemotherapy.

He’d soon be under a fog of Ativan. I’d be waiting in the hospital lobby flipping the pages of a magazine I wasn’t reading. No one would notice the dimpled, green-eyed man—the man I loved—slipping out the back door.

That morning was easily a metaphor for our marriage. While present, I wasn’t paying attention. While committed, I didn’t understand his needs. And when Jim decided to check out of life, I was too busy flipping the pages of the story to the only ending I could accept—a happy one. And now that he’s dead, I live with the regret of not seeing, not hearing, not supporting the man I loved when he most needed to slip away.

But let’s start at the beginning. Let’s start when we met.