Sometimes I wish he had died instantly. Here one moment, gone the next.
My friend, whose husband did die instantly, wishes she had a chance to say good-bye like I did.
Only, I’m still not convinced that he heard Langston as Langston took Art’s arm and wrapped it around himself and clung to it like a protective shield.
I don’t think he heard Pallas’s wailing “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” as she laid down next to him. (Just the memory of hearing her little voice, crying out …. God. No words to describe it. Maybe it’s better that way. I say sobbing like it's happening this very moment.)
I’m still not convinced that he had not “already left the building” by the time the doctor came in and used the word "dying."
My memory of him is tainted with the recollection of his 6’6” frame only carrying 150 lbs.
His sense of humor gone.
His blue eyes dull, open, not seeing.
My memory of being split into three between him, our children and myself is painful. Will I ever stop questioning if I did enough for all of us, gave enough, loved enough?
I imagine if he died quickly.
I imagine the same grief.
The regret at not having a chance to say good bye
And I want that.
Rather than the memory of him wasted, gone but still here,
unlike the man I married.
His last breath was not like it is on T.V.
His mouth got dry from days of his lungs refusing to quit.
His lips peeled.
His tongue swelled.
He emanated a sweet-sick decaying smell with every breath.
His hands did not respond to my touch, his eyes did not flicker to my voice.
There were no sweet kisses.
Just me, sitting on his bed waiting to see him take his last breath
Looking at his sunken face.
His color turning waxy.
Relieved that is was coming to an end.
That good-bye with
his dry lips,
his swollen tongue,
his decaying breath,
his cold hands,
clouds what I remember of the real him
I can still conjure that smell!
And I just want
the crystal clear memory of the strong, tall, athletic funny man I choose to spend my life with