That Last Day

Published on 22 April 2023 at 16:45

I woke up a couple of hours ago, watched a couple episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond" - one of Rick's favorite sitcoms.

Surfed thru Facebook, news and weather.

Made my morning Facebook posts. 

Tried to go back to sleep. Mind wouldn't hush enough. 


Coffee - - - Blessed Coffee!!!


And now, I sit here with memories and thoughts. 

8 years ago today, I woke up as usual. 

Rick was asleep. 

The home dialysis cycler was going thru its cycles. 


I got up quietly and spent a little time writing in my journal. 

It had been an exhausting four months. 

Yesterday (8 years ago) had been the best day we had enjoyed the whole year. 


I remember sitting at the computer, writing words of thanksgiving for such a good day. 

Thinking about the love shown to one another in a hundred little ways. 

Thinking about the movies we had watched, and the conversations we had had. 

And I dreamed of the day soon when he would feel better enough that we were on the road in the RV again. 


Then, a couple of hours later, Rick woke up. 

As good as he had felt the day before, this morning he felt equally bad. 


Worried, and afraid, I called his dialysis nurse. 

He was scheduled for a visit that day with her. 

He was so weak though; he could barely walk a few steps from the bed to the potty. 

I asked Lisa, his nurse, if I should call an ambulance, or get help to bring him in. 

She asked a hundred questions (or so it seemed), talked to him, and to me. 

He was refusing to let me call an ambulance, and he said he didn't want to go to the hospital, or doctor's office. 

Not today. 

She advised me to let him rest. 

He had been battling a tummy bug in the last week, and she said it sounded much like dehydration to her. 

She talked with his doctor, and Dr. Greenwell agreed. 

She had me take his vitals and report them. 

Everything was checking out as good.  

He was just extremely weak. 


He spent most of the day in bed, usually sitting propped up on the pillows against the headboard. 

Wasn't hungry - but I did get him to eat a few bites. 

Lisa and I talked about every hour on the hour thru the day. 

She said to let him have anything he wanted to drink, or eat. 

And to push the fluids. 

His vitals remained strong thru the day. 


About 5 pm, Lisa told me to watch him thru the night - take his vitals every hour, and push the fluids. 

Then, if he wasn't feeling better the next morning, bring him in. 


Rick and I had spent a lot of time that day talking, laughing. 

We teased one another. 

He was in really good spirits. 

Just weak. 


Around 6 pm, he had me help him to the potty. (which sat at the end of our bed). 

I was straightening the bed, fluffing the pillows. 

Started to go out of the room to get him something to drink, and I heard a sound from him. 


I turned, and he was sitting on the potty, crying. 

My heart froze, I couldn't breathe, and I was afraid to move. 


But I took a few steps, sat down on the end of the bed, reached over and touched him. 

He looked up at me. 

That look in his eyes will stay with me the rest of my days. 


I asked him what was wrong. 

I remember his words as though they were spoken just a few minutes ago. 

"What if it hurts to die?", he asked, with the most true fear I have ever seen in someone's eyes. 


"What?", I squeaked. 


"What if it hurts to die? I don't think I can bear any more pain. It hurts too much to live, but if dying hurts worse, I can't do that either." 


My heart stopped. 

In the silence of the moment, I heard my heart breaking and falling as a million pieces to the bottom of my soul. 


Taking a deep breath, I knew this was a time to give him the rest of me - all I had. 

I tilted his head up to look me in the eyes. 


With tears streaming down my cheeks, I said, "God would not do that to you. He knows how much you have endured. When it's time, you will take your last breath here - and your first breath there with Him." 

He slowly took a deep breath and smiled at me. 


A few minutes later, he was back in bed, and asking for something to drink along with saltine crackers for a snack. 

We talked a while. Laughed some more. Teased one another. 

I asked if he was having any pain, and he said he felt better than he had felt in days. 


If I had known that in less than 15 hours it would happen just that way, I wonder if I would have said those words? 


It has haunted me for 8 years - did I speak his death? 

Or was it just wisdom beyond me that gave him comfort and strength for the next 15 hours? 

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