As long as there is one person on earth who remembers you…

As long as there is one person left alive on earth who remembers you, you are never completely gone. 

James Richard (Rick) Sikes

8-5-35 to 5-1-09

Excerpt from ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART:

“Aren’t they the people who help you die?” Luke asked.

The doctor’s voice was quiet. “Yes.”

“We’ll talk about it all.”

“Fine. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Once he left, Darlina leaned over the bed and laid her head on Luke’s chest. “Oh Luke. What are we going to do?”

He stroked her hair. “Sugar, you know I’d do anything to stay here with you, but I can’t stand to be more of an invalid than I already am. I don’t want to live without any legs.”

She raised her head and looked into his watery blue eyes. “You know I’ll always do my best to take care of you.”

“I know, but look at what I’ve already put you through.”

“You’ve put yourself through far worse. What I’ve done, I’d do all over again a million times. There is nothing stronger than our love…Nothing.”

“There are so many things I’ve left half-done. If only I could have a few more years.” The words ended with a sigh. “Would you climb up here beside me?”

“Of course.” She slipped her shoes off and gingerly raised herself up on the bed and snuggled next to him. She cradled his head against her breast.

Sobs shook Luke’s shoulders. “I’ll never be totally gone. You know that don’t you? I’ll always be with you.”

Darlina sobbed with him. “I know.”

Words became inadequate.

***

R.I.P Rick Sikes

'Til Death Do Us Part by Jan Sikes

Twelve Years Ago Today

One of my favorite pictures taken at the Horseshoe Casino in April, 2006. It was the first time Rick had seen Willie Nelson in over thirty years, and what a reunion that was!

I woke up this morning with my heart in a vice. How, after twelve years, can the pain still be so severe? Exactly twelve years ago today, I brought Rick home from the hospital after signing the hospice papers to end his life. They put him into a drug-induced coma – or so we thought.

With our living room converted into a makeshift hospital room, the only difference from the many prior weeks was that after all the healthcare folks and friends left, I was alone totally responsible for his care. No problem. I’d been doing that for a long time.

But that night was different. He was restless. I understood he’d left a plethora of things undone and I also understood that he knew he was home. He kept trying to get off the bed to go tend to whatever was nagging at him. Thank goodness he was so weak, he couldn’t really accomplish getting up, but I spent that entire night trying to soothe him.

I’m sure the hospice people gave me instructions, but all I remember was I was to put a certain number of morphine pills under his tongue every four hours. And despite doing that, still he wasn’t completely under.

West Texas sunrise

Finally, as the sun started to rise, weary, I called the hospice number and asked for some help. Little did I know I could have called them hours earlier.

They came an hour or so later and gave him stronger drugs that put him completely under. But even all these years later, I can recall every agonizing minute spent that night. Never had I felt so helpless. Besides dealing with the reality that he was leaving, I had to manage the guilt of letting him suffer so long before asking for help.

Well, truth be told, I still deal with a lot of guilt. If only I had known then what I know now about oils and gemstones, I could have made his crossing easier.

Beneficial oils and gemstones Jan Sikes 4-25-21

But one thing I know for sure – you can never go back in life. You have this moment. And for me, it is imperative that I do the best I can with my current knowledge to live the best life possible in the now.

If you are still lucky enough to have your loved one with you, lean over and hug them, kiss them and tell them how much you love them. Don’t put it off.

I will be reliving those days that followed as this week unfolds, but most of it became a blur. Friends and family gathered. Someone forced food down me. I slept only snippets at a time. I’m not going to relive every part of the memory with you, but I will share a couple of significant events that all ended around 4 am on May 1st.

Never forgotten. Ever missed.

This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them.

No Shame in Surrender

Surrender

This time of year brings around so many vivid memories, this being one.

On March 9, 2009, a long agonizing night began for me and Rick Sikes. He had been in and out of the hospital since January 2009 and we were back again for more IV antibiotics to try and fight the infection slowly eating away the flesh on his right leg. With daily hyperbaric treatments on top of the strongest blend of antibiotics available and morphine for pain, recovery remained elusive.

And then the unthinkable happened. I knew something wasn’t right as Rick struggled to breathe and his fever rose. But, the nurses assured me that he was not in distress.

When the Pulmonary Therapist made his daily rounds the next morning, he immediately recognized the signs and went into action. Rick had developed pneumonia. Within less than an hour, a ventilator was in place, all pain meds stopped and the vigil continued.

When the wound care team came to change the dressing on his leg, my heart broke at the tormented cries that escaped from his throat. It took every ounce of strength I had to stay calm and try to comfort him.

I thought we’d reached the end. And, during the wee hours of the morning, after another sleepless night, I wrote this poem, never imagining I would have a chance to read it to him.

Surrender

There is no shame in surrender when it is time

Like General Lee, you’ve known when to lay low and when to climb

I’ve watched you suffer for so many years

Your life seemed destined to one of pain and of tears

Yet you fought on – the valiant soldier in fierce battle

You boldly sang your song – rode tall in the saddle

You’ve now come down to the last battle call

You’ll hang up your sword, tired and weary you will fall

But know that you’ve left many good marks behind

While you learned how to love and how to be kind

Taught lessons to all who shared your many paths

That will long be remembered after you’ve passed

There is no shame in surrender when it is time…

I did get to read it to him several days later, as he survived pneumonia. We both cried. Then on May 1st, he hung up his sword and left this earth.

April is National Poetry Month. In celebration, I have discounted the eBook version of Discovery – Poetry and Art by Rick and Jan Sikes.

I’d be honored if you’d pick up a copy, read and review it!!

Order here.

FrontCover_Discovery

For more on my books and music, visit: WEBSITE

It’s Finally Here!

I am thrilled beyond words to announce the Pre-Order Sale for the fourth and final book of this series of true stories, ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART!!

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH TXAuthors.com

ONLINE_3D_Cover_TilDeathDoUsPart

Luke Stone has cheated death more times than he cares to remember. And now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows he won’t fill the Texas dance halls and honky-tonks as he’d done in his younger days, but is determined to give it his all. Darlina, his rock and anchor, longs to see his dreams fulfilled and vows to do everything possible to help him find success. But, will time allow Luke to sing his last song?

GET YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY TODAY!

THE FIRST 20 ORDERS WILL RECEIVE A FREE CD – ETCHINGS IN STONE BY RICK SIKES

Estimated delivery date 4-20-16

Til Death Part2_TxAuthors