Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Last words...

For some, we have the opportunity to say our last words to our spouse or loved one before they die. I was fortunate, although at the time I didn't realize those were going to be my last words to Jeff. When he was in ICU, I was told I could see him for a few minutes (things weren't going well). I stood at the door, my feet frozen and I couldn't move to get closer to him. Doctors and nurses were talking in the hall about Jeff and I said to him, "I love you," from across the room. He didn't respond. Our 'thing" at home was if someone said it, you HAD to respond. I said, "You have to say it." And he says, "luh ya." I knew that was him speaking. He was in there, but I couldn't get to him.

A short time later, a voice came out of Jeff unlike anything I had ever heard before and said, "Time to go." Those were the last words I heard out of his mouth. I laughed. Jeff had a crazy wit, cracking jokes at inappropriate times just to decrease the tension in the room. I thought he was goofing around. I thought he was coming around. So I said, "yeah, okay." And those were the last words I spoke. In my head I was screaming, "No! You better not go anywhere!" But my mouth said, "yeah okay." Ugh. I went through the last moments in my head over and over again for years after that. Yes, years. I wish I knew what was holding me back at the door. What was preventing me from screaming out of my head what I really wanted to say. "Doctors, hurry! Do something! Help him!" Nothing came out.

For those who didn't get to say anything before their loved one died, the advice is to write him or or her a letter and tell them how you feel. Pour your heart out. Express sadness, happiness, laughter, anger and more. If you're a singer, write a song. A poet? Write a poem. An artist? Draw a picture. I was told if I truly believed that Jeff could see and hear me, then he would see or hear the letter or the picture I was making. I know it's not the same thing. Nothing will ever be the same thing, but it's worth the try.

My daughter struggled once because she didn't get that chance to see him before he died, so she made a poem for him. Although it's not the same, she felt a bit better. We still have it. Have you done anything like this?

Until next time, you may be young, but you're not alone,


Heather said...

I never got to say goodbye to my husband, he died so quickly and unexpectedly. I was there but staying out of the EMTs way, so I lost my chance. I spent about half an hour with him at the funeral home the day before the funeral and tried to tell him everything I was feeling, which of course is impossible. I have a card I bought that I'm still waiting to fill out and burn, hoping the message will get to him. It's been a year and a half and I still haven't written anything.

anneray said...

He died on a business trip in a neighbouring country. The actual goodbye we said was just before he took the cab to the airport to catch his flight on the day before he died. The night before he died he called but the reception was so bad we couldn't say our usual goodbyes and that was the last i heard from him. I wrote a note to him in the airplane when i was flying over to that country to make arrangements for his body. It helped alittle to relieve all those anguish and unanswered questions that ran through my head then. I put that note and a photo of us with our two girls next to his body just before they closed it. I mean i don't know if he would know but to me it was like my last chance of saying goodbye to him. Although it still hurts not having a real goodbye!

Anonymous said...

I was with my wife when she died a month ago today.
We were in her hospital room with her mother and our daughter- our son could not cope.
She was able to summon sufficient strength to say "love you" after being unconscious for over 22 hours. We only shared about another hour together after this.
This was the last and most treasured gift I have ever received.