My partner of 10 years died on Friday.
On Thursday, during our hospital visit, she had such a good day that I went home thinking about where I would put the hospital bed, what kinds of modifications I would need to make to the bathroom, and whether or not I could find a temporary ramp for the steps leading to the front door.
Thursday night, my phone rang and it was DJ’s ringer. I was surprised because she hadn’t called me for over a week. She was so weak that just the act of calling or texting was too much for her. Naturally, when I heard my phone ringing, I was pleasantly surprised and excited to hear her voice. But when I answered, she was crying and she told me that she was in so much pain. I asked her about her pain killers and she said she had taken them already but nothing was helping. I asked her if she wanted me to go back to the hospital but she said no, she would see me in the morning. I told her I would call her back later but all she said was, “Nite-nite. I love you.” and I said it back to her.
Looking back on this conversation, I firmly believe this was her final goodbye to me. I think she wanted to tell me, in her own way, that she would not be there in the morning when I arrived to the hospital. Not the real DJ anyway.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was parking my car when an unknown phone number showed up on my caller ID. I don’t usually pick those calls up but something told me to answer. Her oncologist was calling to inform me that DJ wasn’t responding the same way she had been the day before. I told her I was in the parking lot and she told me she would wait for me. I ran down the stairs and into the hospital.
DJ was not there, not all of her anyway. Her breathing was so labored. Her eyes were unable to focus on any one spot and her arms would flail sporadically. Even her doctor was surprised at the quick downturn. DJ very briefly responded to the doctor’s request to squeeze her hand but neither of us were sure it was a real response. Her blood pressure wasn’t registering so the RN called a code. Finally, the doctors asked me what she would have wanted in this scenario. Resuscitation? Respirators? No and no. My baby was so full of life. So bright. The thought of someone trying to re-create her through artificial means was so abhorrent, I could not fathom the thought and I knew it was not what she would have wanted either. So everyone left, they gave her something to make her “more comfortable” and left me alone with her.
I held her hand and stroked her hair. I kissed her forehead. I talked to her. I apologized for not singing to her more often. I told her she would be free to stay at the beach for as long as she wanted now. Her sunny days would be never-ending. I reminded her of my first trip to visit her in North Carolina and how we got a hotel room across from the beach. I had packed up a tiny Christmas tree, complete with miniature ornaments so we could have Christmas together in the hotel room. She gave me a fuzzy, green sweater which I wore when we later walked across the street, in the cold December night. We held hands and walked near the surf, cold but in love. We kissed underneath the pier and looked forward to our lives together. Now, I promised to take her to this beach so she could rest in peace. Her breathing slowed down. I believe that once or twice, she made an effort to look at me, directly making brief eye contact. I told her to relax and just let go. No one would fault her for not wanting to be in so much pain any longer. I told her I loved her. And then, she stopped breathing.
Within an hour of arriving at the hospital, my baby was gone and now, my house is so quiet.
I enjoy reading and have blogged in the past about travel and books. My latest blog is a vanity blog. I write about whatever comes to mind, specifically, things I think I need in life. Hope you enjoy!