Thursday, September 18, 2008

I wonder...

David was such an inspiration to me and will continue to be…
I often wonder if I would have had such dignity and strength facing death? David always said my road was the much harder road to travel. Because he knew he would be a peace at some point in the near future, and I would be left trying to pull the pieces of our life back together…mourning the loss of my beautiful husband and lover. But his road was a tough road as well. And yet he took it with such dignity. Yes, he was scared sometimes. I don’t think he would have been human if he weren’t. But honestly…most days he was more concerned for Alec and I, and how we would be able to traverse life without him. Death scared him….but not as much as you would have thought. He was calm. He knew his time was coming and he told me that he would be watching over us for the rest of our years until we would be once again reunited.

But he did worry about his final moments…and what they would be like. But not for him. For me. He didn’t want me to see him die. He was afraid of how he might go…and he didn’t want me to remember him that way. We had many discussions on this topic, seeing as we were both so damn stubborn. But I told him that there was no way in hell I would be anywhere but by his side when he went. He was my lover and I would be there to comfort and care for him. Helping him to find peace and love in his final moments in life. Soothing him and talking him through it. Knowing he was never alone. And I knew…he always found peace by my presence in a room. And be damned if his final moments would be that of fear, loneliness or pain. There weren’t many things I could control in this hellish situation…but that was one of them!

We always found peace in each other’s presence. Maybe that is why now…without his presence in a room, my life feels so empty. I have not found peace and don’t expect to for some time. Maybe never. But it reminded me also about when he told me about how much he just loved me being in the room with him.

It started one of his first hospital stays. He would have a constant stream of visitors in the hospital...and he would be chatty and engaged. And then the moment I arrived, he would go to sleep. It used to drive me nuts. And then one day I finally asked him why he conked out the moment I stepped in the room. And he told me, “because he felt so safe and secure when I was there…he felt he could finally sleep.” So, I used to spend hours upon hours watching him sleep…comforted knowing that I was bringing him peace. He would look up periodically to make sure I was still there, watching over him. And smile…

And in his final days, he would ask me to wake him up to let him know I was in the room with him. And I would, and he would smile and go into deep, restful slumbers. It wasn’t much, but it was one of the few things I could do for him. Letting him know he wasn’t alone and just be there for him. Love him.

It gives me so much joy and peace myself to know that I was able to care for him to the very end. And give him the peace he needed. That I was able to stroke him arm and tell him I love him and that it was all going to be ok…as he took his last breath. That is a moment I will cherish forever. Because I know he could hear me and I was able to be there for him, love and comfort him in his final moments in life. No one should ever be alone as they die.

But I wonder so often now, how would I have faced this? Would I have embraced life as he did and not dwell on the tragedy of it all? Would I have looked death in the face and laughed…and then went out for ice cream? I don’t know. I know that through David’s example…I was able to embrace life with him. Enjoy his final days here and wring every last precious moment out of each day. And I know I will forever be changed by this. Not only the loss of my beloved. But how he chose to live his life as well. Despite the Cancer. And I know that I look at death differently now. It still is difficult to imagine. And I still don’t know how I will handle it when I am faced with my own mortality….But I don’t fear dying as much as I used to. Because David showed me that when faced with it. You can fight it…and you can also choose how you want to go. And he did. And it isn’t as scary for me because I know when my time does finally come, David will be there waiting for me…and we’ll begin a new journey together. And knowing David…by that time he’ll have worked out all of the idiosyncrasies and he’ll have already planned out our next adventure.

2 Comments:

At September 19, 2008 2:49 PM, Blogger Satine said...

I love how you concluded this entry-that was just beautiful :)

And actually, earlier in the blog struck a memory with me too--when my American late grandfather died of cancer when I was a kid, I remember my mom telling me that when she or her sister stopped in my grandfather would fall asleep easier too. It makes me feel comforted myself to know that people who have passed on for unfair reasons, still had the comfort of their loved ones around them.

Dave will always guide you. My grandfather still does to this day too. My late German grandmother also passed away from cancer when I was in my teens. Some of the things she told me are amplified today in my life because she is a more powerful guide to me now due to her spirit and influence.

 
At October 13, 2008 12:49 AM, Blogger momazilla said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I know my Mom was scared, but she never let on. I think she felt like she still had to be strong for me, which I admire her deeply for. And truthfully, I think I would have had a harder time coming to terms with her passing if she had told me she was petrified.

But like David, she went the way she wanted to go. I never witnessed the awful side cancer can bring out in people. I am eternally grateful for. I worried that if she started to deteriorate and started to become someone else other then my Mom, if I would be able to handle it.

Every day I am thankful to have her go peacefully and without much pain.

I too wonder, when my time comes. Will I face it with the same dignity my Mom showed.

But what bothers me to no end, is realizing at one point, I will be putting my children through this as well and when I am gone, I will not be there to comfort them.

I truly believe what you say about no one should be alone when they die. When my Mom's breathing changed, I almost thought that she might be in pain and notified the nurse. She explained that her breathing changed.

I left to go to Taco Bell 2 blocks away and when I arrived back, the nurses took a long time to answer the door. Which I started to get nervous. Finally someone came to the door and she explained to me that they were in her room and noticed her breathing changed, I explained to her that I notified the nurse. Well, she said they noticed she had modeling in legs, which that was a big uh oh, meaning that the end is near. I am walking in the doorway and her nurse turns to me and says she's gone. I look to her, to my Mom back to her, back to my Mom and just couldn't believe it. I wanted to be there for her in parting, I didn't want her to go with some nurse hanging over her taking vitals.

But they say at hospice, this is quite common. Many patients pass on after their loved ones are gone.

You know, out of ALL the patients in hospice? I was the only one to stay the night there? I was probably there close to two weeks, before a nurse offered me a cot. *smacks head* You mean I didn't have to sleep on the floor??!!??

Hospice seems to be truly sad, there are so many people who come there and are there for only a few days and they're gone to the great beyond. It's few and far between they get patients there longer then a year.

Some of these nurses seemed annoyed by me being there. Is it that unreal for a parent and a child to have that close of a relationship?

I actually got close to a couple of patients in there. The night my Mom passed, Bob down the hall, grabbed me when I walked past his room and gave me the biggest hug. (I miss him, but I dread going there to find out he is gone.)

But I am so glad you were there for Dave.

With my Mom, I take comfort knowing that at least I wasn't home when she passed. I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself if it happened that way.

 

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