wings and things

Chapter 10: Tomorrow [2021]

on August 22, 2021

Tomorrow will be the 23rd of August and at around 6.30pm Anthony will die all over again in my memory of four years ago.

Our own doctor was on leave so another doctor came and gave him morphine to ease his sudden, terrible discomfort with pneumonia, Then, to my surprise, this doctor hung around for about 20 minutes to see if the morphine had improved Anthony’s condition. Ming was with us. Ming was with us. That was/is important.

Anthony was semi-conscious so I wasn’t sure if he would hear my whispered conversation with the doctor out in the hallway.

Doctor: Your husband is dying.

Me: Yes I thought so but I wasn’t sure.

Doctor: If he doesn’t improve soon I will give him another injection.

Me: Oh, okay. When you say he is dying do you mean soon?

Doctor: It’s impossible to say as it could be a day or two, maybe longer.

After the second injection, I went back into Anthony’s room to my spot on the armchair next to his bed and I held his hand in a clutch that must have hurt him because he flinched slightly and pushed my hand away. The relief that he was now breathing normally, and not doing that ghastly Cheyne-stoking thing, was so wonderful. I went outside with Ming for a breath of fresh air and just minutes later a nurse came out and said “He’s gone.”

I thought she meant that the doctor had gone so I just nodded an okay. Then she said, “Anthony has gone.”

In my mind I had the doctor’s words “it could be a day or two, maybe longer” so, as I hugged and sobbed over Anthony’s still-warm dead body, my mind a flurry of utter disbelief, all I could think was why didn’t that doctor warn me that it might just be minutes?

I think I know why Anthony pushed my hand away but I’m not sure and I will never know. Ming and I were just several meters away, outside, while Anthony died alone. I realise in retrospect that this may have been his intention.

But it still haunts me.

6 responses to “Chapter 10: Tomorrow [2021]

  1. beth says:

    I believe you are right. often people on the edge of passing, want to spare their loved ones the added agony of seeing them take their final breaths. I think he was trying to give you a final gift with this gesture.

  2. my MIL waited until she was left for a couple of minutes to pass on her own. I think it is more common that we realise

  3. Anonymous says:

    Another poignant memory that will resonate with many others who have lost someone who chose to slip away like that.

  4. Susanpoozan says:

    You are probably right, he pushed you away on purpose out of consideration.

  5. Sadly we are never ready to say goodbye, such a painful time

  6. Who I am says:

    It doesn’t matter the length of time since our loved one passed to heaven, every special date will bring some tears and wonderful memories it seems. Doing a good job writing this book!

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