Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder how Nick would feel about this little monster running our lives. I think he’d love her. I think he’d be wrapped about her paws like the rest of us…
So here we were on a chilly April evening, trying to be European and going to a bar with the dogs after a walk… Only my little zero-body-fat princess was trembling from the cool breeze. So her Aunty S retrieved a sweater from her car…
Would you deny that face? Would you deny this tiny Jedi?
There is no journal entry for this, but I remember this with such clarity…
I sat slumped over the edge of the bed, writing in my journal some times, trying to rest others. Waiting for some sign that Nick would come back to me.
At one point he lifted his head and looked at me and I saw some recognition in his eyes.
I said his name. He opened his eyes and I asked him if he knew me.
He nodded. I asked him if he remembered what he had asked me. Nothing.
“You asked me about your father…”
“You need to come back to me Nick.”
“I need to come back,” he whispered.
May 16, 2009
Nick seems to be resting, though no more lucid than earlier.
Around 11 last night I left him with G and stepped outside wanting to call someone….
I stood in the darkness, in the cool spring night air and it was relatively quiet… I sat down on a bench for a bit and simply stared across the drive to where Nick had sat in the sun—when was that? I felt shell shocked. I think the main feeling here is loss— because if his mind is gone— it isn’t Nick. And I am alone already.
I needed to talk to someone to share this hell. Then I realized there in the gloom, there was only one person on the planet I wanted to talk to. Nicholas.
Last night I cried the most I have since this whole hellish things began. I don’t know what is hurting me more. The concern for Nick. The frustration that I can do so little. My own exhaustion, combined with my empathy for Nick who hasn’t slept properly in 49 days. He’s been sitting for nearly that long. His back is curving under the pain— so much so he’s taken to slumping over— out of exhaustion and weakness. I try to have him propped between pillows, but it’s less than ideal. His legs now have a number of bedsores that are…. I have no words. I wasn’t prepared for this. This is what death looks like, huh?
G gave me some time to go stretch out in the day room and stayed with him for an hour or two, but I couldn’t sleep, I was cold. And sad.
At 6 she left me here and I did what I could to keep him from falling and at least for now there are no outbursts for meetings with “staff,” no demands for invisible boxes, or asking to leave for “upstairs.” What is going on inside that once brilliant mind of his now?
At 10 his team of doctors came by. I hadn’t seen them in what feels like weeks. And like a weakling, I burst into tears out of frustration. The main idiot doctor had no answers for me. Is it because he doesn’t know? Is it because he couldn’t give a fuck? Is it a language barrier and he can’t talk to me— the American Wife?
Finally, I said I wanted to take him home. It would be so difficult, but we’d be out of here, alone, away from the noise, the smells, the groaning men in the ward, the nurses waking us up every 2 hours, the bustle at dawn…
Eventually, the idiot doctor offered to put Nick in a private room again. I saw some poor man in the hall way, his shopping bag of belongings with him, and he just gazed at me. Empty. I must have given him a look of apology… But lord knows what expression my face actually delivered. I felt badly for him, but at the same time, I felt such relief.
I said something to the Short Mean Nurse, who told me the other man “didn’t need a private room.”
It struck me that we must be near the end to merit this treatment from Short Mean Nurse; he’s almost kind.
Also, when he told me he’d move Nick over there, he asked if Nick needed “religious services.”
While I was pretty sure I knew what he meant for some reason I asked, “What?”
He spoke again, “Do you need a chaplain?”
Really woman? You’re watching a romantic comedy? After what you just wrote earlier? What is this, salt-in-your-wounds- night?
For the love of everything holy, smoke a joint and stick to “Nacho Libre” for now.
After one of my previous entries, a follower generously sent me a message that read, “Would it help to know that I sometimes cry during Doctor Who episodes?” And I smiled and thought— what a lovely admission, a kind show of vulnerability and empathy…
Then I stopped and wondered about why I cry. What is it that triggers the hiding-in-the-bathroom-sitting-on-the-edge-of-the-tub-crying? [Though I doubt my follower has these types of crying jags]
And the only answer I can come up with is: love.
“I don’t want to go,” says the Tenth Doctor and I felt a crushing ache within.
On the one hand, anything to do with death brings my own loss to the surface, but these words struck home because they were so similar to how Nick felt at the end…
He wasn’t ready, he didn’t want to go. But why? Why hold onto this realm of suffering, messy, painful suffering?
I remember talking about this with my stepmother a year after he died, when I could talk about such things and only go through half a box of Kleenex… And she said something that I’ll never forget:
“He didn’t want to leave you.”
Yes, it’s love that makes me cry.
The loss of such love. The loss of being loved by another so much so that they would wish to carry on in agony because of their love.
And I cry because I no longer have that.
I cry because I understand what I am missing and I want that back.
“To love and be loved in return.”