Yesterday was the hardest day I've had in my life. It was the closest I’m ever likely to get to hell. I watched helpless and with despair my wife slowly fade away into death. All the hopes for many more years of our marriage together ended with that.
In the morning her numbers looked good, but slowly throughout the day they dropped steadily, until eventually her heart stopped beating. The doctors did absolutely everything they could, but admitted by the early evening that there was nothing more they could do. With all the medical technology, and expertise they had become as helpless as I was.
I was able to pray over her as she slowly died. I thanked God for blessing of almost 13 wonderful years of marriage we’d had. For the kind, generous and loving wife that has looked after me for so many years. For her being my strength. For the church family and in-law family that I would not know if it weren't for her. For the blessing of knowing what it is to have sisters and another brother, to be an uncle to two beautiful children. But most of all for a wife that was able to witness to me, and to help bring me to the door of Christ. For my accepting Christ at the moment of her baptism.
The knowledge of her salvation brings a bittersweet reality to her death. The pain of knowing that we have lost such a beautiful woman is set back by the knowledge that she is no longer suffering, her tears have been wiped away by our saviour and she is in eternal glory with Him in heaven.
Death of a loved one is exactly as you’d expected it be. Terribly painful and heartbreaking. Her siblings were with me as she died and we were all grateful that she was no longer suffering. We were all in agreement that this was not goodbye, but until we meet again.
I was left alone with her body for some time while her siblings moved to the waiting room. I felt adamant that I could not leave her in the room and that I should accompany her on the start of her final journey to the morgue. Her body slowly became cold and discoloured and completely still. I held her hand briefly and made sure that her eyes were closed. I could feel rigor mortis in her fingers as I held her. I leant over and saw my wife entirely still. This was my wife. I suddenly had the urge to shake her, to try and wake her up and very nearly did, until the rational understanding came over me that I was now leaning over something that was no longer my wife and I felt the moral implications and futility of attempting to awaken a corpse.
I talked to the nurse and asked her to move along the process to get her to the morgue. I felt the need to get her quickly to the morgue before she started decomposing. I left the room and they removed all the machines from her and wrapped her in a white bag. Three ladies struggled for some time to get her on the stretcher as she was still entangled in some of the machinery. She was still stubborn even after death. After they succeeded they wheeled her away from the room and the nurse put on a toe tag, and soon they started wheeling her away out of the ICU where I rejoined her siblings.
I spent the rest of the early morning having phone conversations with tearful friends as I made sure to let them know that Fran had died. So many men of God have prayed with me over the phone this morning.
Today I realise I am surrounded by things that remind me of her. From my facebook profile, to all her belongings. Her smiling face brought me to tears the moment I turned on my computer. I feel overwhelmed by the logistical ordeal of trying to arrange a funeral and cremation, along with an autopsy that I have requested, plus trying to organise all of Fran’s belongings in three geographic locations. This woman did not know how to pack light!
I also wonder what on earth I do with myself after this. I noted while travelling to my room last night that I am entirely free of the burden of being a carer for someone that has been constantly suffering for years. However when considering what I actually want to do with my life, the only desire I have is to be with my wife no matter how futile that desire is.
I’ve spent the morning talking to people at the Cancer Lodge. I talked to someone that I engaged in smalltalk with a few times that I hardly knew, and told her the bad news. She cooked me breakfast. I met her husband Ralph who is also fighting leukemia. He has a friend that works at the job I’ve applied to up in Jessop. He contacted him and gave him my name to check out my application. We both remarked that God was already opening doors for me on where to go next.
Today I hope to be able to meet with Pastor Gustafson, who is driving down. I”m praying that he has travelling mercies, as the weather is getting bad. I plan on meeting the doctors and nurses that will see me today to thank them for all their hard work in fighting with Fran against this disease.
I don’t know where I go from there. I need to blog what goes on though, I will continue to update as plans are made on what is going to happen.