Sunday, May 29, 2005
We just had our 13th wedding anniversary while he was in the desert covering the war in March of 2003. He was on the air a lot, with round-the-clock reporting, and I would tune in as much as I could just to make sure he was okay. It was comforting to see him. I got a call -- you know, Baghdad, they're eight hours ahead of us -- before midnight on Saturday night. I had just fallen asleep because I kept staying up to see his live report, but he never came on. I remember thinking as I was drifting off, "Why haven't I seen his live report" -- only to have the telephone wake me. I immediately thought about a bombing or a blitz. They said "blood clot." "Was he shot?" I asked. "What do you mean?" As I learned more about it, they gave it a name -- deep vein thrombosis, DVT, which turned into a pulmonary embolism. He had been to Somalia and Bosnia, and covered a lot of the hot spots in the world. He took extreme cautions to be safe: He had Pentagon training; he had biological warfare chemical training; he was wearing a full-body chemical suit, a flak jacket, a helmet, land-mine jacket, boots. The irony of it is the enemy was within.
You learn to live through grief and with it. There are good days and really bad days. The way [my girls and I have] gotten through it is to talk about it or not talk about it. If the girls need to talk, to cry, they do. But if they're having a good day, I don't bring it up. I let them have a normal day. On Father's Day or on David's birthday they write usually a little letter or talk to him, and we did go to his grave site, and we brought balloons, and we sent them up to Heaven. They worry. "Mommy, are you going to die of a blood clot?" I wish I would have known [about DVT], when David mentioned to me leg cramps on the phone a few nights before he passed away. It's a guy thing, where they think, you know, "I'm young, I'm healthy and fit." In the middle of a war, he's not going to complain about an ache.
-- Interview by Patricia E. Dempsey