I sit quietly, my head lying on the bed, my hands holding onto Carl. How did we get here and why are you leaving me? We had a plan. We had a plan. This was not the plan.
You were supposed to move to Denver with me, go sail and come back and we would have evenings staring at the mountains and drinking wine. We would go ski on the weekends and laugh the entire time. Instead, I am sitting here, alone, thinking how did this happen?
This would be the last time I sit alone with Carl, holding his hand and apologizing for not getting him to Port A to see the beach. But he got me home to San Antonio. I slowly roll my head on the side of the bed and know I will never hear his voice again. I will never feel his arms wrapped around me telling me everything will be ok. It is so surreal. He always said he never wanted to die in a hospital and well, this Hospice center who graciously took us in, is something like a hospital, but at least no doctors are running around there is just calm silence.
I am fully aware that this is the end. The wait for his final breath only to close one chapter and start a whole new novel. Carl is still, the one thing the nurse says is “his lungs are good.” He was a swimmer, so of course, he could hang on. They tell me from Hospice that if he lives past 72 hours I need to find a place for him. This facility is only for imminent death. My heart starts to race thinking what I will need to do to get everything set up if that is the case.
But Carl told me he would not make me suffer too. He was kind like that. I feel his body move up and down while breathing and I think, how many times when I couldn’t sleep at night that I would listen to him sleep, softly purring and think, “how does he do this so easily?”
Carl was good at everything and wanted to win at everything. So as I sit I say out loud, “you had to beat me at this didn’t you?”
My thoughts flip back to dinner in Denver with our daughter Adyn, where I am sitting there in our apartment and Carl starts to apologize and all I can say “why you? Why not me? Take me God; I have lived, I bore 2 children, loved and been loved. I am good and whole. Despite not seeing my grandchildren or seeing my kids get married, I am good. Take me.”
Carl being ever so kind says, “no you aren’t done, there is more for you to do, be kind to yourself.”
So, I am sitting there holding his hand, and is it is unbelievable. It is overwhelming to realize that my partner of 26 years is leaving and I will be alone. I start to rise but I want to seize the moment and smell him, one more time. I never want to forget Carl’s smell. I take a big inhale and stop. I choke it in and then release. He is salty and sweet, like a rose in full bloom. I stand up and turn knowing this is our last alone time. I know the kids want to come in and sit with him. My insides hurt and my throat is aching, but I throw my shoulders back and say, “it is all good and Carl would not want us to stop and cry for one minute.”
The world will lose a giant, who fought for others, but it is gaining an new giant in me. His light will forever be in me, I promise.
RIP, my love. EP