Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Those Touching Deathbed Moments

If you and your soon to be dead spouse have the opportunity to discuss her death, just listen for the most part, that's all she really needs. You are just as afraid as she is but you will have the rest of your life to work it out while your wife is bereft of such opportunity.

However, when you have been a couple for 23 years and married 21 of those years, you fall back into old patterns. My late wife Ruth and I always corrected each other, no matter how awkward, or the time and place of the correction. We just wanted to be smarter than the other one every once in a while. It was a game we played all the time throughout our 23 years together.

About 60 days from her death we talked about my life and how it was going to change if she died. The thing is that all the way up to the last 5 days before she died, Ruth believed she was going to survive. She always said she was not afraid of dying but that she wanted to stay because she had so many things left to do.

So we are sitting together on my late wife's literal deathbed and she spoke of how she wanted me to be happy, and find someone, and share my life with them, like I shared my life with her. She said she wanted me to be the merry widow, and think of her now and then, and the times we had together.

I knew she got that phrase "merry widow" from reading the book "Love Story," and I think that she knew I would be unable to stop myself from correcting her. I think it was a test she was doing so she could see if I was going to be OK alone, after she was gone. I listened to my dying wife, while she was dying, I really did, but you would not think so because of what I did next.

I listened to my sweet wife of 21 years, who had lost her hair, been radiated and medicated to within a literal inch of her life, and generally felt like death on a soda cracker most days, and then I pounced. I just told  her it would be impossible for me to do any of the things she suggested. 

It was not because I loved her too much to go on. I do, but I also must go on. It was not because I would be broken in two. Which I am. It was not because she ruined women for me because there will never be another like her in my heart and soul. It was not because she was my love eternal. 

I explained that it would be impossible to be the "merry widow" as only women can be widows and men can only be widowers. She laid back on her pillows and fell asleep with a strange little smile on her face. I guess I passed the test.
Ruth Decker-Tabarez

Some days I don't think I can handle anything but the thought of my late wife being disappointed in me is also more than I can take. So keep on fellow widowers, keep on.

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