Okay – confession time. I missed last week’s edition. Partial excuse in tomorrow’s post, but to today:
Lat time we were given a view of life when TED and his wife, Sissy, moved to the village of Haverley. As difficult as it was, it became infinitely harder when Sissy was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
You can read the previous part HERE. On with today…
Her health declined rapidly, and within weeks she was confined to bed. Ted felt helpless, but did almost everything for her. The pace at which she declined scared him, and the level of support she needed grew in proportion to the progression of her illness. The first time he had to change one of her dirty nappies, he had thrown up afterwards. He had not shown his discomfort whilst he cleaned her; he had no wish to make her feel worse than she already did. In the bathroom afterwards as he washed his hands, the tears began to fall and his stomach began to churn. He hoped she didn’t hear as he stood over the sink, retching, but he suspected she did, as she wouldn’t look at him when he returned to her bedside. When she stopped being able to feed herself, he did that too, moving from spoon-feeding her, to squeezing food through her dry, cracked lips in a syringe. He was not a medical man, but he did the best he could; she was his wife, after all, and he would do anything for her.
They had taken the decision not to talk to anyone in the village about Sissy’s health. Ted spent most of his waking time by her side and even some of his sleeping time as well, and as a result, he started fielding questions from the others in the village when he did venture out. They had not seen Sissy in weeks and wanted to know where she was. Ted had no wish to share his wife’s illness with anyone, so he let them speculate, certain that gossip and conjecture would spread fast in the tiny community; he had no time to concern himself with such things.
It had been less than three months since Sissy had her first symptoms, when Ted walked into her room and found her crying. He knelt by the side of the bed and cradled her hand in his. She looked old. Dark circles ringed her eyes, and her skin had taken on a grey tinge.
“What can I do for you Siss?” He knew there was nothing he could do to take away the pain, but he asked anyway.
“It hurts.” Her voice was feeble. Ted leaned closer.
“I know,” he said. He was crying with her now. He caressed the back of her hand with his thumbs.
Ted shook his head. Following the diagnosis, Sissy had asked him to make a promise: when it got to the end, she didn’t want to suffer. She wanted to slip away quietly, but knew she might need help. He laid his head on her chest. Her breathing was shallow and slow. The rattling in her chest with every breath sounded painful to Ted.
“Yes. It’s ok,” she said, wheezing as she spoke. “I’m ready.” Ted lifted his head and she looked into her husband’s eyes. “Please.” Her pain was evident.
“We have no morphine left,” was all he could manage. The plan had been to help her take a lethal dose of the drug, but he had used it all making her last few days as pain-free as possible, and he silently cursed himself for that final selfish act; he had wanted to keep her as long as possible, but now he saw what that meant. Sissy was suffering, and he had never wanted that.
“Find another way.” Her breathing was becoming increasingly laboured. She turned her head away from him.
Ted let go of her hand and stood up. He looked down at the shell of what had been his beautiful wife only months earlier. After a moment, he wiped his eyes and slipped a hand under his wife’s head, gently lifting it from the pillow, which he removed, replacing her head on the bed. He looked at his wife. Her face was still turned away, for which he was grateful. Gripping the pillow in both hands, he placed it over his wife’s face and pressed down.
Her weak body writhed against him, her arms flailing feebly, but Ted held his nerve and the pillow. She continued to struggle for several minutes, and Ted began to worry not about his resolve but about his strength. He could hear her voice, muffled by the pillow, which he tried to block out and failed. His tears flowed freely, and he had to bite his lip to stop from shouting out. Eventually, her movements slowed, then stopped. Ted held the pillow in place for a further minute before he removed it and tossed it away. He collapsed on the bed clutching his wife and cried.
That’s it for this week. You can read the story so far, starting HERE, or you can skip all that and read the whole thing for FREE on Amazon . If you’re enjoying so far, let me know what you think below.