DAVE: Our Wishes
It had been days since Sandy had eaten anything or taken in any liquids. I had taken up sleeping next to her in her little hospice bed we had set up in our living room. She was now unresponsive. I knew the end of her life was near and I did not want her to be alone.
After an evening of “watching” some of her favorite shows, I shut off the TV and did my best to get comfortable for a few hours of sleep until I had to administer medication again—every three hours. After days of quiet, suddenly at 2am Sandy was wide awake and talking.
She wanted me to take her to “the softball game.” I had no idea what she was talking about—but she was adamant. Knowing this could be the last time we might speak—I went with it. She went on and on about how she needed to be there. We were late. They were waiting for us. Expecting us. I thought maybe she’s talking in metaphors, so I told her that if she needed to go to the softball game, it was okay. And I would meet her there someday. She didn’t like that idea one bit and explained that we had to go there together. So probably not a metaphor.
At times like these, when her illness took over the conversation, I would listen and redirect. Because more often than not, these conversations would end up with her restless, agitated and trying to get up out of bed. I slipped out of bed and came along her side so we could be face-to-face. I wanted to make the most of this time. Our conversation lasted about 20 minutes, none of it really made much sense. But we did have one beautiful lucid moment together. At one point, Sandy cupped my face with both hands, looked me in the eyes, pulled me to her and kissed me over and over and over again. She knew we were best friends, husband and wife, she knew we had history and dreams. One real moment. Our last moment. That’s how I want to remember Sandy—with her love shining through, conquering all.
Sandy passed three days later, with her daughter and son by her side. I was sleeping a deep sleep in our bedroom. Having been by her side for days, I reluctantly accepted the offer of relief. So I got my wish, Sandy was not alone. And I have to believe she got her wish, she spared me witnessing her last struggling breath. And gave me a beautiful last moment together. That was very sweet of her. That’s how she was.