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.
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.
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.
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