When my husband departed this world and re-entered the mighty ocean, I did not cling long to his debris. I summarily cleaned the basement and garage and closet. Out went his shirts, pants and memorabilia. In came the Self that he was, for he had now rejoined the mighty sea.
Sometimes I sit on the sand and hope the waters will wash up a golden treasure. I, a beachcomber by nature, have been looking in vain for this key to myself. If I am wise, I will join the sea before I die, surrender my ideas of loss and gain. If I but dip one toe in the water, perhaps the rest of me will tag along. If not, at least I have bowed to this concept of letting go of myself as a container. I am far more than that.
In hospice, he fought against his confinement. I have spoken of that elsewhere. He wanted to remain here with me and our son, the loves he still had left. He saw me as needing him and I had always thought I did. It was only after he left that I stood firmly on my own understanding. I had been preparing myself for his death for over four years. He had already outlived his prognosis, which was less than three years.
He had been kept alive by transfusions for months. We were worn to a nub. I was pretty much in the fetal position emotionally. Turning in to prepare for the inevitable. But once in hospice, the blood was withheld and it was said he would only live for a week or so. He lay in bed with an icepack on his nose to staunch the blood flow. We took turns holding it. He didn’t need morphine until the last day or so. By that time I had gone home to rest and my sister had taken over his care. She did a beautiful and strong job of sitting with him. Chanting and praying, she prepared him for his final exit. My son said his father fought him physically the day before he died. As if he were battling his own child to keep death at bay. And then he lay back and fought no more.
I am glad I wasn’t there when he died. It was a mercy for me, for both of us. My sister witnessed his passing and spared us the details. She spoke of the French doors blowing open twice and a leaf landing at the foot of his bed. The agony of mercy had ended. I still have the leaf and know the meaning of losing a loved one. For I love him more now. He gave me a charm many years ago that said, “More today than yesterday; less than tomorrow.” That is where my love for him is now. Growing fuller as the days go by. The agony ushered in a time of great peace for me. That is enough.
You may read more in my book, Life With A Hole in It.