Tiny Eden

Friday, December 2, 2016

From Married to Widowed in a Heartbeat

As I stood in the shower this morning, memories flooded my mind.  I thought about how, 2 years ago, I stood in this same shower crying, sobbing, angry, hopeless.  Just before getting in the shower, I had packed a small suitcase so that I could spend the rest of my husband's life with him while he was in hospice.  I knew that the next time I walked into our home and the next time I took a shower in that tub, I was going to be a widow.  How does a person even prepare for that? 

Sam had been moved into hospice on the evening of December 1st after I made the decision that I needed to let his soul be free from his tired body and his marred lungs.  They told me we had 3 days before they would be discontinuing the machines that were keeping him alive.  That would bring me to Thursday and there was no telling how long it would be from there.  In my mind, I had 3 days to tell my love a lifetime full of I Love You's.  I went home on the nite of December 1st knowing that I would be returning the next day to spend the rest of Sam's life by his side. 

Several friends came by the following day to see their friend and say goodbye and share stories with me.  I watched The Price is Right with Sam, one of the shows that we thoroughly enjoyed together.  I wanted to savor every moment, every second.  I didn't want the day to end.  I was afraid that once everyone left, it would be so quiet and I would start to feel again.  I was afraid that he would die during the middle of the nite when I was alone with him - just the two of us.  As the day went on, Sam started to breathe over the ventilator quite a bit.  His nurse came in and commented that Sam was a fighter and even after the machines were turned off, he would probably fight for a while before he passed away.  This was devastating to me.  While I wanted to savor my love and cherish him and keep me with me for as long as I could, I couldn't bear the thought of him struggling.  That seemed cruel and inhumane.  I started to become very anxious and prayed that Sam could just be at peace. 

Sam's last visitor for the day stopped by.  Kim, Sam's respiratory therapist when he was younger.  She was there when Sam and I first met.  While we were sitting in the room, Sam kept breathing over the machine and I could not help but think that I had made a mistake.  Maybe he still had a ton of fight left in him?  Had I given up on him?  Was moving him to hospice a big mistake?  He seemed a little restless, so I got a cool cloth and started patting his forehead with one hand and I held his hand with my other hand.  I whispered to him to please just relax and close his eyes.  I reassured him that everything was going to be ok and to just rest.  He closed his eyes part of the way so I closed them the rest of the way for him and kissed his forehead and whispered in his ear that I loved him with all of my heart and soul - something that I always used to tell him.  As I kept holding his hand, I noticed that he became very pale.  Kim was still with us talking with Sam's mom.  I told them that I was concerned about how Sam looked and that I was going to get his nurse.  When Kim looked over, I knew she was thinking the same thing I was.  I went to the nurses station and they came in to assess Sam.  The doctor shortly joined us in the room and confirmed my biggest nitemare with the simple words of, "I am sorry for your loss."  It only seemed appropriate that the person who was there when I found my love was also there at the moment I lost my love.  I found comfort in knowing that I told Sam I loved him the moment he slipped from this earth. 

The person who introduced Sam and myself, Kirsten, came to the hospital shortly after he passed away to take our handprints.  Two canvases rest on my mantle, one with Sam and Owen's handprints and the other with mine and Sam's handprints.  When she introduced us, we never would have thought that years later, she would be taking our handprints. I will treasure these forever.

Sam's toiletries still sit on the bathroom sink.  His towel still hangs on the towel rack.  I remember I put out a fresh towel for him right after he went into the hospital so that when he came home after his transplant, it would be all nice and clean.  His clothes still hang in the closet and they still sit in the drawers.  The book he was reading about Victor Cruz still sits on his dresser with the bookmark keeping the page he read up to.  The day after he passed away, I called and had his oxygen compressor picked up.  I swiftly emptied his cabinet where he kept all of his medications and nebulizers.  My brother in law helped me carry the boxes down the basement so I did not have to look at them.  I wanted all of the medical supplies that littered my house to be gone.  The last thing I wanted was to give one more inch of our house to this disgusting, vile disease that ripped my husband out of my life.

5:30 pm on December 2, 2014.......Two years ago today.  My world changed in a heartbeat.  Not a day goes by without thinking of my amazing love.