My wife had been sick for a long time, slowly wasting away. We learned all we could about the disease, but there were no treatments, no miracle drugs and we both knew she was going to die. Her and my daughter were my life the center of my universe. Our daughter was old enough to understand what was happening which was a blessing in some ways.
My wife had joined an online support group for those suffering with her disease, but it was hard for her. She would make friends with the others in the group only to find out they had lost their fight. I guess a small part of me saw it coming, the choice she made it just took a while for the rest of me to agree though.
It started one day when I got home to find her in tears. I sat on the edge of the bed trying to comfort her until she could finally tell me what was wrong.
“Karen’s husband mailed me today. She was rushed to the hospital last night.”
I held her and rubbed her back. “She has been sick a lot longer then you babe, you still have a long time.”
“I don’t want to go like that Craig, promise me you won’t let them put me on some machine.”
“I won’t. I just don’t want to lose a second of our time together.”
We just sat like that for hours holding each other until she drifted off to sleep. I made sure she was comfortable then laid down on the army cot I have been sleeping on for six years.
It was a week later when she was rushed to the hospital again and I feared this was it, but she got better and came home, but she was more determined then before. I caught her hoarding her medicines one day.
I pulled back the corner of the mattress revealing a weeks’ worth of her meds. I was furious, but I am not sure if it was her or me, I was upset with.
“What is this? You need these.”
“You know what it is. You promised Craig.”
“Not this I didn’t promise this.”
“I’m not getting better and I don’t want to go back. Please.”
I fought back the tears as I grabbed the pills and stormed out. I found myself in the living room on the couch remembering how we use to sit in here watching TV or playing games before she got sick. My whole body was shaking as I felt a rage building in me, a rage at the injustice of it all. She was a good person unlike me, yet she is dying, and I go on. I had no clue how to raise a daughter, but Chloe was going to be stuck with me because of some cosmic joke. I only kept from smashing something with the knowledge that Janet and Chloe were both upstairs.
I watched her meds more carefully after that, but she continued to push me to do what she wanted. I hated her for it, but I hated myself even more for not doing it.
I remember the day clearly, it was a bright April morning, a Saturday. Chloe had gone off with her friends and I took Janet her breakfast. I sat on the edge of the bed and helped her eat. I guess that is when it finally hit me. Janet did not have years or even months left she had weeks before she was too sick and ended up in the hospital for good.
I reached out and put my hand on hers. “I love you; I’ll always love you.”
“I love you Craig. I’m just so tired of being a burden.”
I tried to speak to say something about her not being a burden, but she silenced me with a finger against my lips.
“I am even if you don’t see it. You and Chloe need to continue to live but you can’t as long as I am here forcing you both to slowly die with me.”
I started to cry as I took her pills and crushed them all up. I mixed them with her eggs before I kissed her one last time. I sat with her after she finished eating until she drifted off. When she stopped breathing, I got up and called the ambulance. I was sure the police would come for me. Even on the day of the funeral I was on edge wondering how I would explain to our daughter that I killed her mother.
I understand that this could be used as a confession. I could go to jail, but life loves its little jokes. I am dying of a brain tumor. The doctors keep telling me I must make arrangements because at the end I’ll need around the clock care, the joke is on them. I am going to leave this life on my own terms when I am ready and before I get too bad.
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