I held on to him for as long as I could; but I could hold on no longer; I could feel him slipping away from me. His grip loosened and I could feel the cold, clammy touch of his fingers brush mine for the last time; the warmth gone forever. The silvery tissue paper feel of his once strong but now worn hands, bony with veins exposed, slipped from our tender touch until all that was left was a distance that would never be filled. Never before had I felt so alone; not knowing where I was going or how I was going to get there.
As a silent tear slipped from the corner of my eye, leaving a trail of sadness in its wake, a numbness spread over me and with eyes closed, I remembered our last kiss. And in that moment I was transported back, Not a kiss like when we first met, but a kiss that held years of secrets we’d shared and memories we’d made. Lips that said, “It will be OK my darling, we will be together again.” Lips that had touched mine so many times over the years, that felt safe and secure. His arms that had cradled me through the good times and bad, would no longer hold me.
60 years we had been man and wife, and with two children, six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren under our belt we had entered retirement in the knowledge that help would be on hand when life was too much for us to cope with, but nothing can prepare you for grief and the feeling of hopelessness when a loved one departs.
We, as a couple had touched all their lives and enriched them over the years. But ‘we’ no longer existed. ‘We’ would never take the great grandchildren to the beach or the park. Never cuddle up on a long dark winter night watching the next episode of “Coronation Street”. Life would be very different for both of us.
We had discussed this moment over the years, about who would go first, what life would be like without the other and now when the time had come all the planning seemed to fade away. You see when you love someone so much that it hurts to see them in pain, then all the planning in the world won’t help. As the morphine takes hold of my ravaged body I gently slip away into oblivion, leaving behind a trail of unanswered questions that Derek will ultimately have to answer. I am grateful for what he has done for me, although sad that it will be a while before we are reunited. The vile still warm in his hands as darkness descends.