it broke my heart

So we ended up there.

And we stayed there, in and out, for months, until the end.

I would NEVER have guessed that cancer would find us. I thought “I have MS…isn’t that enough?”

But God saw it differently, and I have to live with that. I dream of that morning, when he aspirated blood all over the bathroom sink, and I had to call 911. I thought he was dying right then.

And when I was removing the fluid from his lung daily, he became very abusive. He was so angry – I understand that now. He called me names and said VERY hurtful things…things I NEVER thought he’d say to me. EVER.

But he apologized. Always. And I always forgave him.

He became so weak, at the end. He couldn’t walk, and lost his ability to move his body at the very end. Thank God for hospice. His last day will be with me forever. He was on oxygen, and in horrible pain…I asked him, “do you want to go to the hospital?” He nodded. Because I don’t drive and he was in such pain, I called 911. Definitely an emergency. After the ER doctor saw him, he took me aside and told me Mark wouldn’t make it through the night.

Crisis management kicked in, and I began making the calls to his family. I was so grateful they arrived in time to say their goodbyes. I didn’t move; I just sat by him, holding his hand. Stroking his cheek. I was staring at his hand…his fingernails were very long. So very sad…this broke my heart, as he always took pride in his grooming. It was painful to see his nails. Time stood still, until the nurse offered us a private room upstairs, to be with him and catch a few hours of sleep.

His brother and I stayed, and slept a couple of hours. I woke up. at 5am, and when I looked over at him, I knew he was gone. The nurse came in and pronounced him, and that was it. We stayed with the body a while, as the nurse told us we were not in a rush. I kissed him and grasped his hand one last time. I didn’t want to be with the body any longer. This was no longer “him.” His spirit was gone, and I didn’t want to be around his “shell” anymore.

And the fingernails. A reminder he was NOT himself, and hadn’t been for a year. A small sign he was so overwhelmed with grief and sadness of his own, he lost the desire and ability to care for himself. It was so unlike him. The cancer robbed him. The EVIL, VILE and WICKED disease stole him from me. We were supposed to spend our whole lives together. We had plans – maybe small ones – but we knew what we wanted from this life. We loved each other, and were looking forward to our future.

But it was not to be.

I comfort myself by reminding myself that I had 25 YEARS WITH HIM! How lucky am I? And I am so GRATEFUL. I believe I will feel married…I will feel like Mark’s wife forever. My heart is full of our time together. My memories are vivid; they comfort me and bring joyful dreams. I am so thankful, but still feel like an empty shell when I wake up. He’s no longer next to me, and will never be again. I’m brokenhearted over this, but take some comfort knowing he’s still with me. He promised me he would “haunt” me (we laughed about it). And he has made good on this promise, as I feel him in a zillion different ways, every day. I’m so grateful for this.

So, I must be thankful and at peace. Easy to say…getting there, however, is a work in progress for me.

And I will forever remember his hands – his nails. I hope they didn’t constantly remind him of what he couldn’t do. I hope he was at peace.

He SO deserved it.

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