My blog today is going to tell the story of a friend who died today. Her story isn’t much different from anyone else’s in that she lived until she was 82 and died of the after-effects of chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
The real difference in her story is how she and her husband appeared to others. I first met them when we moved into the Isles a year ago. They had just moved in, also. We ate together and laughed together. She was a fiesty lady, meaning she had a lot to say and a lot to do. She and her husband were always running to doctor appointments or to the hospital. She had just gone through a bout of chemotherapy and was over the cancer, but she has side effects that dealt a blow to her lungs and her heart.
The BIG thing about this couple was the loving way in which her husband took care of her. She was in a wheelchair and was very thin, almost emaciated. She had no hair left from the treatments, but she always wore a cute hat to the dining room. Her husband pushed her wheelchair for her and carried an air tank on his walker for her. If she was chilled, he would get up and get her a sweater out of a carryall bag. He never complained, nor did he ever show any anger or frustration for all the things he and she had to go through. This is the picture of true love. Everyone can love a good-looking person with no issues, but it takes a certain strength to endure illness and the ravages of that illness with a loved one who used to be that good-looking person.
Her disposition was usually cheerful, but sometimes her body made her look “on the edge.” She kept up a good front for everyone even though she had pain and other discomforts. It was a lot of work to get her ready to go see the doctor, but her husband didn’t mind. He was always there by her side no matter what.
Monday, she couldn’t breathe, so she asked him to take her to the hospital. Tuesday, she could barely speak but wanted last rites from a priest. Wednesday, she and her husband spoke to each other for two hours by giving hand signals before she died. Her body had had enough and her spirit was willing to let go. We all want to live as long as possible, but we all seem to know when that last breath is nearby.
I’ll miss her smile and the couple as an example of how to get through life even in the worst of circumstances. At the funeral her husband said he’d need a few days to feel better…he had collapsed in the hospital and injured himself when she died. But his spirit is still hanging on. He will rejoin our family when he feels better. He will go on living with the spirit of happiness that they shared as a couple. She will be by his side in spirit.