by Josh Green, July 31, 2012
SNELLVILLE — In the ICU at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Mark Rinehart sanitized his hands on Friday, chatted with a nurse and looked over his unconscious wife. Thin and pretty, her brown hair swept into a high ponytail, she breathed through a tracheostomy tube, her lips parted. Mark pinched a white sheet covering his wife and lifted up.
The feet that had carried Hannah Rinehart on missionary trips to Mexico and Poland, where she developed an affinity for delicious perogies, were gone. The hands she used for gardening around the 1950s ranch they share in Decatur, for playing with their puppy, the finger for her wedding ring — all of that was gone, too.
Instead what Mark saw were four gauze-wrapped bulbs: the remainder after an unfathomable subtraction, the choice that had become the only option.
Mark is trying to look at his wife as much as possible, to blunt the shock by the time she revives, possibly some time today. But seeing what’s missing pinches his face with pain.
“I can’t really look at her too long,” said Mark, 27, dropping the white sheet. …