“Death couldn’t even keep us apart.” She had said to me the third time we got back together. I thought it a little unsettling, but still I always knew that she was right; that we would always find our way back to one another. We broke up and got back together another couple of times after that for the pettiest of reasons. That was, until I proposed to her one sunny afternoon. It was a spur of the moment thing and I didn’t even have a ring, so I made do with a Monster Munch crisp (pickled onion flavour, of course). I had turned to her just as the sun streamed through the windows. She seemed radiant, but then it occurred to me that I wanted to see her even when her hair turned white and her eyes were stamped with crow’s feet. So I proposed and we married a couple of months later. We’ve never spent a night away from one another in over forty years. Our children have long since flown the nest and settled with families themselves and still we stuck to each other. That was, until she had to go into hospital. They say she has a type of untreatable cancer which hits hard and progresses rapidly. Already she has begun to get a glassy look in her eyes as if she is no longer with us.
You would think I would spend every second with her now that she’s in hospital, but that simply isn’t possible. My heart hurts and my head hurts and I don’t want her to see me bawling my eyes out while she already feels so low. So I give her space. I think she’s grateful for it too sometimes.
But the doctors say it is soon time, for she no longer seems to recognise us. She spends hours away from me, seemingly in a different world which I am not privy to.
And her breaths are slowing now – becoming more rattling and rasping. So I lean into her and breathe her in and whisper in her ear “apart not even in death”.
You know when you poke something sharp under your nail by accident and it hurts that kind of dull, constant ache? That just happened to me… ouch!