“No, please,” he choked out. “I can’t do this without you.” His chest was tight. Agony strangled his heart with its greedy hands. Caleb shook his head as tears fell from swollen eyes that had witnessed his wife go through so much hell that past year. Softly, he whispered, while closing his tired lids and tilting his head back, “Please don’t take her.” The corner of his lips trembled when he sucked in a shaky breath. This wasn’t the way to let her go. Their family and friends had gathered in the brightly lit room, witnessing him behaving with such desperation. The life he’d created with his wife, Rene, was crashing down all around, shredding his soul into pieces, like glass shards from a shattering window, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. The smell of sickness and death lingered in the air, assaulting his nostrils and lungs. This scent would be ingrained in his memories forever.
“It’s okay Caleb.” Her chest rose up and down as she labored to take shallow breaths. His gaze fell upon her sunken eyes. Lying in the hospital bed she’d spent entirely too much time in, she let out another painful moan. “Everything is going to be fine. You know I’m going to a better place. We will be together again.” Rene gave an exhausted cough, further proof of her long suffering.
“I know, but I can’t let you go.” With quivering hands, he leaned over to stroke her cheek, using the pad of his thumb while holding the side of her neck. “You’re my everything.” A trembling hand touched his shoulder, attempting to provide comfort. Caleb didn’t need to look up to know it was his mother-in-law, Grace. Everyone in the confined space of the hospital room had said goodbye to Rene several hours before Caleb took the seat beside her bed. Now that her end was so close, he wished more than anything that they would all leave. He couldn’t ask anyone to do that though. They were hurting, just as he was.
He sensed in her once brilliant blue eyes that she only had moments left. With a weak smile, she whispered so softly it was difficult to hear, “I love you. Please make sure Madison knows how much I love her, too.” Her labored breaths came few and far between, and she winced with the effort it simply took to breathe. She spoke those last words before falling into a morphine-induced slumber. A nurse stayed close, administering the pain medication as needed to ensure Rene’s comfort.
With tear streaked cheeks, Caleb bent down, gently placing his trembling lips onto hers. “I love you too. I always will.” The woman he’d counted on spending the rest of his life with took her last breath under his kiss. The piercing hum of the heart monitor confirmed what he couldn’t bear to accept; she was gone.
“No, no, no! Come back to me, please!” Caleb’s violent sobs echoed throughout the room while he gripped his wife’s withered, unresponsive body.
~You can focus on your problems or you can focus on your dreams ~