PSALM 118: 8-9
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
I ended my last blog with the statement that last year I did not see how sick Andrea was. I have thought about that many times since Andrea died. Why did I not see it. Was I too wrapped up in the fight that I did not see her slipping away? Did I not want to see it? Was a afraid to see it? Was I blinded by hope?
What I really struggled with was Sunday night, Dec 16th, the night before Andrea died. She had begun to slip away, and was less responsive that day. Andrea kept staring at a spot on the wall and would only look away when I would speak to her, and then only when she heard my voice. Otherwise she would stare off in the distance. When I went to leave that night I told her goodnight as I always did, I whispered in her ear and prayed with her. I said communion with her and when I began to walk out the door I looked back and she was staring at the wall. I walked back to her and said, "Andrea are you okay, you are scaring me." She moved her eyes towards me and cracked a little smile. I kissed her and told her I loved her and faintly she repeated it to me. It would be our last exchange.
I beat myself up for leaving that night. It was Andrea's last night on earth and left her alone. I so wish I could go back and be with her that night. Did she wake up and look for me? Was she scared and needed me? All the while I was home sleeping. I had been with Andrea through all her treatments, chemos, surgeries, and doctor appointments even when she had to go have her blood drawn between treatments, yet on her last night I was not there. I struggle with this because I was so tired at the time, I wanted to get away. I gave up. Like running a marathon and being so exhausted you quit 100 yards from the finish line. Andrea never had the chance to get away and rest, she fought everyday, 24 hours a day, and I went home to sleep. I want to tell her I'm sorry. Sorry for leaving her and sorry for quitting.
But at the time I still thought she could get better, I knew medically she had a huge battle ahead of her, and I think my hope was that we could just get out of the ICU and go home. I did not want her to die in the hospital, away from her own bed and our home. I was clinging to the hope she would make it out and back to chemo. We both knew her odds were slipping away I just did not see it happening in the ICU. I wanted her to beat that place, in part because I did not want to take her there in the beginning. I did not want her to die there, in a sterile room, it was not home. Death, and Andrea losing her fight, was personal to me, and losing is the right word to use. Because I felt like we had lost; we were beaten. And in a way I did not want anyone to know. I really don't understand all these feelings but they are there and thankfully Ginger has helped me work through them. I know most of them are unfounded but they are real and they weigh on me at times. Maybe it is all part of losing a spouse, someone you pledge to love for ever. You are just never ready when forever comes to an end.
I had spent so much time taking care of Andrea. Now all I can do is go to her grave and pick the leaves out of the grass. I sit at her grave and make sure it is clean and her flowers are straight. I have wondered why I do that, was it just my neatness gene? But I think it is my way of still taking care of Andrea. My way of telling her I sorry for leaving the night.