My ex-husband died tonight. I was in bed when his brother showed up, banging on the door.
“Get dressed!” he ordered.
Katie was running through the house, frantic, so there was nowhere to change. I had the man turn his back so I could throw on some pants. I finally realized that the bathroom was empty so I darted inside to toss on a bra and a sweatshirt before we ran out the door and raced to Middle Daughter’s side.
When I got to the hospital it was to see my middle daughter holding his hand as she cried.
I knew this was coming. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. Even so, when he’d rallied all summer, blossoming in the care of Middle Daughter it seemed like he would outlive me.
There was so much blood. He’d aspirated and had been rushed to the Emergency Room. Middle Daughter hadn’t wanted the nurses to clean him up. She wanted to stay with him so she’d told them she wanted to do it.
I couldn’t leave him like that. Couldn’t let the kids see him that way so I grabbed a towel from a stack the nurses had set aside, lathered it up, and started scrubbing.
I couldn’t get it all off. I tried, I really did. It was the last thing I could do, you know? I had his brother’s wife take the kids out of the room so his brother could lift him and we could remove the bloody shirt, and I scrubbed and scrubbed. I scrubbed as hard as I dared because, illogical as it was, I didn’t want to hurt him.
Once the kids left the room the nurse came in and removed the thing in his mouth they’d used to try to revive him. I think it was a thing that helps them put tubes down their throat or something. I thanked her and washed his face again the best that I could but he had a beard so it was really hard.
And now I can’t go to sleep because every time I close my eyes I see him laying there, his hands growing cold as I try to get them clean.
We had our issues but I’d set them aside the best that I could for the sake of everyone concerned.
And now he’s gone.
At some point tomorrow (today, since it’s after four in the morning now) I may have to go help my kids make the arrangements. After that, I have no idea what will happen. I’ve got to be strong for my kids because I know what it’s like to lose your parents when you’re young, so I need to get a grip on my personal emotions before dawn arrives.
Please say a prayer for my daughters and my ex-husband’s family. This is going to be hard on them.
As for me…I’ve got a few posts already scheduled, so you will have that to enjoy while I recover. If there is a pause once they run out, I hope you will understand.