A/N: Hoorah! Second story on this website now posted. This one is a major change of pace compared to my first (I'm experimenting.) I don't like the end and it's also on deviant art. Hope the disease part is realistic- I did research but didn't understand everything. I decided to write this to help raise awareness towards blood related diseases (mostly cancer ones like leukaemia.) Raise awareness to the pains in a family with someone with a disease. By the way, I'm doing the World's Greatest Shave and if you want, you should really check out the site to see how you can help. That's all I have to say about that.
Summary: I'm losing her from my life and I can't prevent it from happening.
Word Count: 2554 (That may change)
I sit at her bedside and run my fingers over her scalp. It was a habit I developed when we were dating. Whenever I was close to her and thinking, my hands found themselves buried deep inside. I used to love her hair; it was what made me notice her in the first place. She had an amazingly stunning auburn colour running through it. She had grown it out overtime so it ran down across her hips to her waist. The slightest turn of her head would cause a ripple effect on the tresses that shimmered if they caught light. Running my fingers through it, would calm me until I could think rationally about any situation. A reminder of her presence right next to me in my life and it showed me just how lucky a man I was, to have such an amazing women fall for me as deeply as I fell for her. I would never regret falling for her, no matter how many days or years of pain I may be put through. Her hair used to smell of almonds because of the conditioner she used. I never would have guessed that the smell of almonds was something I would come to cherish close to my heart.
Then there was the day that I married her. Lifting up her veil for the kiss, my fingers ran along the smooth threads and I remember the smile that crept onto my face knowing that she was forever mine. She loved her hair too. She inherited the colour from her mother and when her mother's mind went, she knew this connection still remained. Even if she could never remember the face of her daughter, she would always comment how similar the hair colour resembled her own. My wife loved that, loved the source that would have her mother identify her even after years of no recognition. Now though, the weight of her hair was gone. The connection to her mother was torn away with no return. Ripped out of her very being, it slowly fell off as the cancer spread and affected even more of her. The woman I loved was so distraught and I couldn't help but feel useless as I watched her cry.
Her cancer had taken so many things away from both of us. I remember the day that we officially found out. That day I gave our child to my father to babysit while we went to the doctors. I remember watching her shake, tremble and cry as the doctor told us she had acute leukaemia. I remember sitting still, feeling as though everything in my life that made it worth living was being untimely ripped away from me. I remember being unsure how I could go on when you had very little chances of surviving. He told us all the possible treatments and I just nodded dumbly for a minute, to be truthful I'm not sure I even did that; I may have just thought I did. I was about to cry, until I thought more about the love of my life just a chair away. She was the one with only a small chance of living and even though I didn't know how I'd survive without her, she was the one that was ill.
I don't know how I managed to do what I did next, I'm not certain I could ever do it again. I gathered my senses and squeezed her hand, causing her to glance over in shock at me. It was like she had forgotten I was there and that she was alone in this. She wasn't though, and I needed desperately to support her. Squeezing her hand the tiniest bit harder, as a message of 'I'm here' and 'We'll get through this together,' I found it in me to talk to the doctor. I asked him all the necessary questions and queries before we walked out of there.
After that, I held onto you as you sobbed uncontrollably on my shoulder. I didn't cry, though a million times I was about to. I saved my tears so I could be your rock. I called my dad, telling him to keep our daughter before we drove home. At home, I stroked her hair as we sat on our bed. Her tears never ended while we sat still. For hours on end, I sat with her as the sky darkened. Her tears wet everything, my shirt, my cheek and my pillow. I felt the cool liquid on my skin and imagined them as my own. I tasted the salt that escaped her body on my lips and I was there when the tears eventually dried out in favour of dry heaves. It was tormenting me. The sky was completely dark when my comforting words ceased and I offered to get her a drink from the kitchen. She was completely parched after so much crying. I shifted myself up, slightly unwilling to even let her out of my sight. I was scared that I'd come back and she would have vanished out of my life. Retrieving the glass and filling it, I wondered how we could possibly get through the next few months living together. It didn't matter too much how, just as long as we lived (or more importantly, she lived.) When I re-entered our bedroom, I found her asleep scrawled across the bed. She had cried herself to sleep.
I slipped the blanket over her shoulders and watched her for a few seconds to see if she would stir. I hadn't known it at that moment, but I would store the sight of her like that in my hard drive forever. The image of her before the cancer fully hit and she would become deathly pale, most likely bruised and she lost both her weight and her hair. I slipped away to the balcony, where I could see the stars and where she couldn't see me. The weight of the day overtook me as I looked into the heavens, knowing that the chances were you'd be there soon. I finally allowed a tear to escape in my solitude. Then that tear was followed by another, before finally the tears were escaping without stop down my face. I stifled my sobs as best as I could and just let the soundless tears cascade. I didn't want her to see me cry. She didn't need to support me through this mess. That was my duty to her and I can't even be sure I managed it. After I collected myself, which took another half hour, I went back inside and got changed before huddling into bed beside her. The next morning I knew she could see my puffy red eyes, but she didn't comment.
Time passed strangely after that moment. Sometimes the days would be torturously slow, like the day when we had to tell everyone who cared for her deeply that she was sick. The hardest of these times was our daughter. Explaining to her that mummy would be going through a hard time and may or may not be around for much longer. Then there were the times that I was away from my wife, separated by only a few miles. The reoccurring thought that each minute spent away from home was another minute I didn't have with her. The constant worry if anything would happen while I was gone, even though sometimes it was completely irrational. Then there were the moments where she would once again break down and cry in front of me. I would watch and try to comfort her but nothing I said could help. Another particularly torturous slow time, was whenever she had a round of chemotherapy. She would be racked with so much pain and all I could do was berate myself for how useless I was being. A couple slow moments were bitter sweet, mainly involving our daughter. Where she would bake cookies for our little girl and the girl would steal some of the batter before giving mum a kiss to try get away with it. Those moments I considered how our child would grow up without her mother, if it came to that.
There were the days that went too fast (way too fast.) These were numerous and many, the sweet moments in the middle of them would slow them for a millisecond. But then we would plunge into a realm of passing images, going so fast that I barely remember any moments of it. I didn't want that to happen, I wanted time to freeze so she could just stay with me forever. But whenever I happened to have a moment with her, time would speed and it would slip from my fingers before I managed to get a decent hold. These moments were taken away from me. Just like God was taking her away from me. She believed in him, I hope that one day I will too so we can meet in heaven; just like how she talked about.
Then, she didn't get better. No matter what treatment we went through, she never seemed to recover from the illness. Her survival chances decreased even further and she landed herself in hospital permanently. I stayed with her whenever I could, which was almost always. Our daughter was in the care of my mother and father for the next few weeks, while she goes through her last stage. I had taken off so much time from work to be with her, my boss being real understanding about it all (almost understanding to the point it hurt.) Now I only left her side when the doctors told me to, or to grab something to eat or to go to the loo. She was sleeping most of the time now, too tired to keep herself awake. Machines were by her side and the systematic beat caused my brain to cringe and heart to ache. It told me she was alive, I needed to listen to it just to make sure she was alive. But that's what made me cringe, the fact it was there to make sure she wasn't dead the next second.
Tears once again blurred my vision, seeing her, a beautiful spirit beyond imagine cut down in its prime. My sobs echoed through the private room. They bounced off the white walls and back down just to mock me. The doctors and nurses passing the room glanced in at the noise. They looked at me with pity, unsure of what to do and grieved by the fact that they couldn't do anything even if they tried. They just opted to turn their faces away from the room and keep walking. Who are they to comfort a soon to be widower?
"Justin?" I hear my wife's voice sound out softly through the room. Her voice is so weak, no longer full of the life and spirit it held before. I glance up and see my wife's eyes staring at me through their corner while she is lying on the bed. She is pinned without the energy to lift herself up. I reposition my chair and stay silent for a few seconds, tears still evident. Then I collapse, crying onto her lap and start to shout at her.
"How can you leave me like this... you're my other half." My hands gripped her sheets as I yelled and ranted and sobbed. The tears flowed like never before as my mental breakdown happened, showing all my thoughts, concerns and everything else that I stored. "I love you. You changed me, saved me from myself and taught me new ways and now you're just going. You promised we'd be together forever. How! How, how, how can you leave me all alone like this! I can't do it by myself. Don't... don't leave me. Please don't leave me."
"I'm sorry" she says and her voice cracks. I don't look up to see her but I can hear the tears that fall down her face in their subtle beauty. She holds my head in her hands, one just cupping it and the other running through it; just like I used to be able to do with her hair. Soon, I can't do it with her hair, can't even touch her, and hear her voice or anything because she will have left me. I continue to weep on her lap for a couple minutes before my irrational anger spikes up again and make me cry out in desperation.
"What about our daughter! She can't grow up with a mother" The smell of the cotton sheets of the hospital bed is too sterile. It's too clean for this. Everything is so messed up and no clean cotton sheets will make a difference to it!
"She'll grow up with a father" she softly responds and a wail comes through the sobs with me. Her voice, full of understanding and wisdom soon won't be able to depart it. I start shaking my head in the sheets frantically.
"That's not enough. I can't take care of her. I couldn't even take care of you" I nearly yell at her. People outside the hospital door look in again at the ruckus but pass quickly upon seeing the heartbreaking scene. How can I raise the angel without a mother? It's impossible. I can't cook, clean or tell her about the female reproduction system.
"It is enough. You can do it" she says and my head shakes again. She grabs it in her hands and forces me to look up at her. "You are the most capable person I know. I couldn't have ever gone through this without you. Every time I felt overcome by despair I'd find you right behind me. You felt sad too... I could see it in your eyes but you helped me out instead. That's why I know I have no need to worry when I leave. You and my daughter will be the best family in the world, even with me gone. I'm sure."
Silence reins for a few minutes after this as I kiss her hands, face and lips while we both cry together. Everything I refused to do in front of her come out as my walls fall down, knowing this is nearly the end. We cry and eventually, she stops but I keep going. She has come to terms with leaving this world, but I, well I don't think I'll ever come to terms with her no longer in my life.
"I love you" I whisper to her.
"I love you" she whispers ardently back.
"We were going to have such a full life together" I tell her confidently, though any real confidence I held is gone, shattered into unrecognisable pieces.
"Tell me about it" she asks of me softly. I bend to her will. Tell her about how we would have had 3 more kids. Told her all about my big promotion and how we'd live in happiness. Told her the bright future of the daughter we had. I told her the lie of our future together, until she fell asleep in my arms, a smile on her face. Even when I go quiet, the future we would have experienced repeats in my mind; forever out of our reach.