DP Challenge: Moments of our life together

The Goodbye

It was time.  I walked in, your wife, your best friend, your lover.  You had been cleaned up, tubes removed, hair combed, fresh gown.  I was able to hold you and kiss you, to say goodbye.  To ask your forgiveness for letting you go.  To tell you how much I loved you and always would.  To tell you about everything good and wonderful we had together, and to talk of all we had done, and what we had meant to each other.  I did all the talking; I don’t know if you were aware of my voice or were able to hear what I said, or even know I was there and feel my arms around you and be aware of my presence.  Were you present or were you already gone to whatever next plane of existence does, or does not, exist?  An hour went by, the longest and worst hour of my life.  At the end of that hour, I walked out, your widow.

This is the core, the key moment that changed my life, but it cannot stand alone.  Other moments in the chain of our life need to be told.

The Kiss

You turned toward me and grinned; a rakish, sexy grin, as you suddenly leaned in and kissed me.  We were walking to my car on the way to a ballgame.  It was our third date, and you had not yet made a move.  I had, giving you a big hug after our first date, holding hands on date two and even trying for a kiss you adroitly, suavely, managed to elude.  I had resigned myself to being just friends until you gave me that sweet, unexpected first kiss.

The Proposal

Mid-December; a time of year I would come to realize was your low point.  Memories of family members who were gone, of disappointments and failures haunted you every year at this time.  We stood in my kitchen.  You were depressed and feeling low.  I was giving you a hug.  You turned toward me and said something to the effect of how I really did care, and how we were good for each other.  I agreed, saying we were a team, a unit, a partnership.  You said to me “Who knows how much time we’ll have.  Let’s be together, always, for whatever time we do have.”

The Realization

It was spring, the sun was shining, and we sat on the couch making plans for the day.  The sun shone through the window and I realized that you were glowing in the light; glowing yellow; glowing a color that was not right, that no healthy person should be.  You had been acting oddly, feeling poorly for some time, going to the doctor for the last 2 years, having tests, being checked for different things, but never with any real diagnosis.  You were tired all the time, less active and not as interested in doing things.  That morning, I realized that there was something seriously wrong with you, and that our lives were going to be massively changed.

The Premonition

Late May, early in the morning as we were getting dressed, I saw you in profile.  You were gaunt and skeletal.  Your legs had lost their musculature, and skin was hanging loose where only a few months ago there had been sleek and shapely muscles.  You had to lean on the wall to put your pants on.  You looked like a ghost, 20 years older than your age, like a man who was fast approaching death.  I had a sudden chill and the hair on my arms rose up; I had a premonition, not a guess, but a moment of sure clarity, and I knew with absolute certainty that you were dying.

The Phone Call

You were in the hospital, having arrived there a week earlier via ambulance.  Don’t worry, the doctors said.  This happens, it’s treatable, and we can adjust medications so it’s less likely to happen again.  The physical therapist came by every day to work with you on standing up, walking, balance, things that had been normal 2 weeks ago.  Recovery, release, rehabilitation; those were our new words.  I had just gotten home after spending all afternoon with you.  The phone rang.  It was the nurse:  “there’s been an accident,” she said; you had been found on the floor, unresponsive.  That night you were moved to Intensive Care; there was evidence of a small stroke, and you were far less responsive than you had been earlier that day.

That was the first time the phrase “circling the drain” started repeating itself in my head.  That was when the conversations with doctors started to shift.  There was no more talk of rehabilitation, recovery, release; I started hearing about transplants and timelines.  There was no more inevitability regarding your getting better.

The Decision

I knew the answer before they said a word, before they entered the room, from 10 feet back.  The grim faces, the apprehensive look, the hesitation; I knew.  The transplant committee had met, and their decision was to turn you down.  There was no other option; you were dying.  No deus ex machina would rescue us; no 11th hour reprieve was possible.  You were going to die.  I would be a widow.  It would be soon.

75 thoughts on “DP Challenge: Moments of our life together

  1. You are an amazing writer. Like the previous comment, it strikes to the core of my nursey heart. So thankful for your honesty about a terrible time.

  2. You are so beautiful. Your heart shines with your love and your resolve is harder than diamonds. Your writing strikes to the core.

    All of our hearts go out to you. Know that you are never alone.

  3. So beautifully written. I cried, not from sorrow, not from shame associated with reading into someone else pain. But from sharing. For you see I too lost my spouse of 10 years at the ripe old age of 34. On the day she perished, after 17 days of fighting for her life with every obstacle being thrown her way, including her body rejected sample tissue from a donor who miraculously arrived during the “11th” hour. It was I, holding her hand, caressing her hair, feeling 10 years of life and love slipping through my hands, it was I and I alone who whispered into her ear; it’s ok. It’s ok for you to go, It’s ok for you to quit fighting. I will understand.. I love you.
    10 minutes later she stopped breathing, her heart failed and I too was left a widow. I told her to go and she listened.
    That was 12 years ago. The pain does dull, the memories never fade, but life does move forward and I feel her presence in our lives (we have two children) every single day.
    I have since remarried to a wonderful woman who understands that pain and has held my hand moving on into the future. I am thankful for everyday because as you and I both know all to well, none of them are guaranteed.
    I wish you all the best…..

    1. Thank you for such a heartfelt comment. I am so sorry for your loss, but more than that I’m glad to hear that it’s possible to make it through to the other side and continue with a good and full life.

  4. It was so hard to press the like button but I did it because of how strong of a person you are to share something so personal with people you’ve never met. Its so hard to lose someone so close. I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m sure he’s your guardian angel protecting you. Stay strong and keep writing!

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. I ‘liked’ it, although it feels wrong to like a post in which there is so much pain. I’m sorry.

  6. Reblogged this on The Harbinger Owl of Syn and commented:
    With the day dwindling, and my lifeboat splashing against the rocks of doubt, uncertainty, and dashed hope…this was so touching; I had to share.
    ~May it fill you with emotion and wake the thoughtful mind as it did mine. I cry for relevance in frequency of a cloudburst.

  7. How wonderfully touching and succinct. You stole my breath, you made my heart sink. You filled me with wonder, and touched the relevancy in my current life in this sea of uncertainty. I too, had to go back and read it a second time, and have nothing but applause and empathic tidings. Blessed Be.

  8. I couldn’t bring myself to hit the “like” button, as there is so much not to like about losing someone dear to us — but it was such a beautiful reflection and set of memories, and a reminder to enjoy the time we do have together with those we love. ~ Kat

  9. Grief is an experience none of us should have too experience, but we do. I went through a similar path with my wife. It took two years after the “event” for her to pass. It was not easy, but our love kept us hoping for a miracle, even though we both knew there was no such thing. She fought, and I over nursed to the point of regret. She died an ugly death while I was at home. SHe couldn’t die while I was with her. She denied me the privilege of that last goodbye. I couldn’t blame her because she was so tired of living by then.
    It has been nine years since we parted, I still love her, I still miss her, I still need her.

  10. This broke my heart. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Losing my husband one day is my biggest fear in life. I can’t imagine how it really must be. Take care. Again I’m sorry for your pain and loss. Your story of meeting is so sweet.

  11. I know all to well the moment when hope leaves and you are suddenly made aware that you are going to go from wife to widow. Its horrible and its a pretty lonely feeling. I love the way you told us, your readers, about the moments in your life. I hate that you had to write it as a widow. But you are a wonderful writer and from the first paragraph I got chills, then tears….I’m sorry, so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing, I hope it helps a little.

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. This is beautifully written, it’s brave and heartbreaking and I felt emotional after only the first few lines. You are strong, to be able to share your story like this, I do hope you find some sort of release in it, and that one day you will be lucky enough to see him again.

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