Tuesday, January 22, 2008
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,
Posted by Lisa Iannucci at 8:00 AM