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Memories We Share – Part 3
The moon cries tears of stars and the sun is washed away by fear
avenues of pain and empty futures
gut wrenching pain gushes and engulfs
muscles spasm, teeth grit and eyes burn from lack of closing
even the shadows cringe at the sound that comes from her
she will not be comforted, she can not
I step outside and walk toward the alley behind our home hoping to find a place where I can let the pain escape me without waking you. A whimper has been building in my throat that can no longer be stifled and once let out it grows into a moan that echoes as it hits the back of the closed buildings. It is three a.m. and I awoke from a dream in which you were already gone. I looked over and your chair was empty, all that remained was the tube to the oxygen and your pillow. I searched the house and found the front door standing open and saw the tail lights of a vehicle leaving in the distance.
I want to run and do not have the strength. I want to hit something and feel it smash into as many pieces as my heart is being torn. I am tired of being cheerful and appreciative for these last moments. I want our life back. I want us to grow even older together. Sixty-four years is not so many when I have only had twenty-four of them. I am being robbed, assaulted by this damned disease that carries you a little further from me each day.
As with my last attempt to rage against this road we’re on, I am left spent and shaking, only weakened by my display and I realize you may have awakened and found me gone. I slip quietly in and walk soundlessly to the living room where, thankfully, I find you still sleeping in your chair. I lie on the sofa and try to still my pounding heart and remember my recent heart attack. I had so wanted to go that day and thought I would. I had been talking to God about this and reminding Him how hard this will be for me. I had asked Him that if it be His will, if we could go together… maybe a tornado or even a horrid car wreck … either would be preferable to being left behind. As they wheeled me quickly to a room where they performed angioplasty and inserted a stent to the artery that had been 100% blocked, I had the most peaceful belief that I would go first and you would soon follow … this was the plan. But no, I awoke and found you and my children and even your children all around my bed looking at me, all of you with pale faces and widened eyes. Yes, apparently the care taker forgot to take care of herself.
I rise and light a cigarette, my habit that has now returned full blown after having gotten down to three a day, I am now back to a pack and pushing more. Even with COPD you continue to smoke and the doctor didn’t help when she told you, honestly, at this point it really wouldn’t make a difference now if you did quit. But me? How can I draw into my body the same toxic chemicals that have decreased your lungs ability to keep your body from slowly dying? How? I suppose the same way I could drink poison form the same cup or follow you off a high cliff to be shattered on jagged rocks below.
Our schedule seems to be changing again and I can’t figure out when to sleep. I fell into an exhausted nap this afternoon and slept four hours so now I am awake and you are sleeping when usually you would have awakened in the night and stare at the television, alone until, in my light state of sleep, I would hear you move about some in your chair and would join you.
You are still taking your medications on your own and I watch you fill the divided boxes with an array of pain relievers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and so many other pills. Hospice has deleted from your menagerie the vitamins, fish oil, and anything that sustains life or does anything but manage the symptoms of the COPD. The visiting nurse will soon be taking over this job for you as the lack of oxygen continues to cause more and more confusion.
I must sleep. I must. I have to be alert and have energy for this new day and I don’t want to waste a minute of it. Please God, give me your peace that surpasses understanding and let me fall into a healthy state of sleep for me but one not so heavy that I don’t hear my husband. And thank you Lord, for your grace and for reminding me that it is sufficient. Thank-you for this day and for whatever comes with it because I know that You are with us in whatever crosses our path … this path my husband will walk home to you, but that we now share.