*warning* The following blog is very descriptive of the death of my husband. I never never shared the details on this blog, and only with close friends/family. I recently submitted this to a writing competition in which it was declined for the award, but I still feel it’s a very emotional, raw piece, that I’m ready to share with the world. It goes along with this week’s emotionally intense and open blogs.
To Never Say Goodnight
The night before my husband died, he asked me to stay with him in his hospital room. It was unusual for me to spend the night there, especially since earlier that evening he had told me to go “home” – my temporary home being in the spare room of a family friend’s row home located on the other side of the city. I agreed, not being able to say no to his weak smile, tired eyes, fading life. I reclined in the lounge chair next to his bed where he lay; hooked up to feeding tubes, and IVs pumping him full of saline and morphine.
We were told we had several weeks left, and now would be a good time to consider Hospice. We spoke with our families that night, arranging travel so that we could all be together, briefly entertaining the idea of going to any Hospice that had an ocean view, but there were none. I made him talk about his funeral wishes, despite his hesitancy to give into talk of death or mortality. I snapped a photo of us with my phone, red eyed from tears, faces wrinkled with exhaustion. I took the photo not knowing it would be our last together. Eventually he told me he did not want to speak of his impending death, but just wanted to close his eyes to relax.
The drugs had taken hold of his mind, keeping him in a cushion of comfort that was completely discomforting to everyone but him. I knew the morphine was lessening his pain, but I also knew it was slowing his breathing, his life. The visit from my brother and his fiancé was important but none of us felt like he was there with us. He was already somewhere else, hopefully somewhere better.
I lay beside his bed throughout the night, turning my head towards him as I lingered between groggily awake and pathetically asleep. I held his hand which was dry and cracking, cold. There was no response when I squeezed. I did not want to wake him, yet I wanted to look into his eyes again, to connect with him once more. He was not there. The night passed slowly, and whenever I would wake I would pray. At first, it was just to give him comfort to release him from his pain. The more times I woke I knew that the only full release from his pain would be for him to die, which only meant immense pain for me. I had no choice. I heard his breathing, suffering through each in and out as his chest rose and fell. I could feel his pain seeping out of his pores; it was no longer fair to ask him to keep fighting. I prayed for him to die. I laid my head on his lap, sobbing as I begged God to take his life, because his pain was no longer worthwhile. I prayed for strength to watch over his family, to make that call, to be their support, as they had been mine.
I do not remember much after that prayer, I just felt him slipping away. He was losing control of his body, and I called the nurses in to care for him several times throughout the night. I had finally fallen asleep, and woke with a start when I realized he was barely breathing. I immediately rang the call bell. When the nurses came in to check him, I watched in pain and agony as his nearly lifeless body was lifted and prepared for examination. This was it. I stepped outside the room with my cell phone in hand. I spoke to my parents and his mother. I forced them to acknowledge what was about to come true. As I spoke the words that he would die today, I broke. It was time. I made them believe me, told them to get to Baltimore as soon as possible, today was the day, I was certain. They were uncertain. We had been told weeks.
I walked back into his room, and saw him lying in clean sheets, looking comforted and quiet. I sat next to him, embraced his hand, and saw his chest rise just a few more times before it rose no longer. I was hysterical, not knowing whether to call the nurses to tell them to come save him, or to give in. I called them, but when they came, I simply looked at them and said that he was gone. The doctor came soon after to pronounce his death. I stayed with him, holding his hand and stroking his hair waiting alone for my family to arrive. That was October 28, 2008; he was 36, I 24. We had been married just a year and a half, and four months earlier, a diagnosis of Angiosarcoma took everything from us.