Monday, February 02, 2015

Waiting... waiting...

This will sound phony; cliché, but it’s true. I sit there session after session watching and hearing her long laboured breaths and thinking each one is the last. There is a static pause between them. Is that it? Is it over? Every time… No. One more… And now? Now is it over…?

Suddenly I find myself rising from the chair and hear myself uttering “I can’t do this” and I’m walking down the hallway purposelessly, having no conscious will to do or say what I did, but animating like a puppet. Pure instinct perhaps. I realize that I am driving myself completely crazy.

She is asleep or semi-conscious all the time now and her only infrequent whispers are to assert her will to die, or else to answer “No [I’m not in pain].” I must confess admiration. I never imagined she had the strength to face the end this way. But what do I know?

The doctor has warned that she could go on this way a long time. Even without eating or drinking, the accumulated fluid in her bloated limbs could supply her body for weeks. I’m aghast at the morbidity of it.

And so it lasts all day and into the evening. Visitors accumulate. I beg off to grab a few hours of sleep. I will come back and take the night shift, perhaps alone again with this silent new friend who does not resemble the Liberal Theologian.

At 1 AM I awake and prepare to return. I check the phone and see I've missed a recent call from Monica.

Relief and dread. I call her back and receive the news. It’s all over.

It’s all over.

So I go back to bed and lay awake until dawn.

It’s a bit of a marvel, looking back on it. I was so preoccupied for so long with my concerns about the issues and concern for LT and concern for The Daughter. And never once during her living cancer experience did I spare a moment’s thought for the hole that would be left in my own life. All the great talks we've had. All the helpful psychological views she shared as I pored over the sufferings of my friends and loved ones and the wards of my charitable work. I will miss all that generous input and advice and the brave transparency we made of our lives to each other.

Trust. We had magnificent trust in one another. Not perfect, of course, for that is only possible for two people who have entirely escaped the matrix of illusions, but... magnificent.

Strange I never once, until now, thought about her coming absence and all the best things about her and all I would miss.  I think she once accused me of being in denial that she was dying. She may have been right. Perhaps I still am.

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