A friend’s wife died. Sad. More than sad. I hear about those things now and feel a momentary chill.

I lost my wife for a few minutes some years ago, they brought her back, but I’ll never forget those few minutes. Sometimes I hear her breathing next to me in the middle of the night and suddenly I remember her beautiful blue lips and knowing I was on the very cusp of being a widower. So many thoughts go through your head in those few minutes, you can’t believe how many thoughts. The doctors were so good, though…man, they were good. I got her back. After a couple weeks she walked out of the hospital. I thought the nurses were going to cheer. It’s such a rare thing, one told me, to see someone walk out like that after what happened. But she walked out, smiling. Amnesia, but smiling.

Eventually life returned to normal. But that precipice is something to peer over, and I don’t think anything’s been the same since. A lot seems pretty insignificant–I quit my writing gig, it suddenly seemed a waste of precious time–and much of the insignificant has vast importance. Like hearing her breathing in the middle of the night. Something I never even noticed before. Not in the same way. Knowing that once, for a few minutes there, she wasn’t breathing at all.

That was over five years ago, and this is the first time I’ve ever written about it. I just realized that. You think you can write about anything, but you can’t.