Sunday, April 4, 2010

Greener Grass?

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 caring 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.

No embraces.

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



  1. I can really relate. I lost my husband to cancer last month. It's nothing like the movies portray. I spend a lot of time looking at pictures of him before he was sick trying to remember him that way instead of the way he was at the end. Sigh...

  2. Cannot tell you how much I can relate to this one. My husband suffered for three long years with colon cancer. The two months preceding his death were absolutely horrible. Horrible. They overshadow all of the good memories. I want the good memories back. I want him back.

  3. I can totally relate to this post. I hate it, but am glad I'm not alone with those thoughts.

  4. You describe so accurately the death by cancer. Your words "split into three" really resonate. I wasn't there the moment my husband died because I needed to be at home with our kids. It's the one regret I have, yet I know it had to be that way. This must have been difficult to write, but I'm glad you did it. Thanks.