It’s been twelve weeks since my life mate died — twelve lonely weeks that I’ve spent wishing he were here, wishing that we had our life back, wishing that he hadn’t been sick so much.
I’m beginning to understand, though, that to wish things were different is to negate the wisdom, courage, and determination with which he faced his life and death. Until the very end when he was imprisoned in bed by drugs (they did not know how else to handle his terminal restlessness — the restlessness that some people experience near the end — so they tranquilized him into a coma) he was determined to live his life to the fullest he could. He was so weak, so befuddled by the drugs and the metastases in his brain that he could not do much, yet his courage and determination were as strong as ever. Sick of being in bed, sick of being sick, he set up an office in the living room and set to work planning his schedule. That was the last night he was awake. He lived through five more nights and days, but he was not conscious. Or at least I hope he wasn’t. He would have hated being a helpless invalid, so it’s a good thing he only had to endure five such days.
I really was glad — or perhaps relieved is a better word — when he died. He’d suffered so much and that determination of his not to waste a single moment of his life, not to give in to the disease, kept him going long after he was ready to die. Later, as the reality of the situation hit me, as grief devasted me, I began to wish things had been different.
He’d been told he had three to six months to live, but he only had three weeks. I’ve been wishing we had those months — but even if I had a choice, there is no way I could justify putting him through that extra pain so I could have him in my life a little longer.
And yet . . . and yet. I still wish things had been different. I wish he’d had a long, healthy, happy life. I wish we still had “our” life.
I wish I could hug him one more time.
I wish . . .