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April 15, 2009

The day Art died.

The vigil started when the four us found ourselves hanging out in his room.

It was an accidental vigil.

Me. Wendy, my therapist.

Steve, Art's close high school friend and Barbara, Art's youngest sister.

We ordered food and found out that yes, you can have beer delivered to a hospital room.

We sat around him like he was a very fancy coffee table.

We talked about our kids.

We ate french fries and burgers.

We turned on American Idol and picked our favorites.

And every now and then there would be a big elephant-size pause as we remembered why we were here.

To stay with him until his last breath.

You know....death do us part and all that.

Death do us all part.

When Idol was over, we listened to his music from his iPod.

We danced.

We laughed.

We sighed. We sighed a lot.

At midnight, Wendy went home.

We ordered an extra cot.

Barbara and Steve laid down.

And I sat on Art's hospital bed at his feet and watched him breathe.

It was ragged, then smooth, filled with long pauses,

both his and mine.

I'd exhale with him, willing him to inhale again, just one more time...please.

The pauses between breaths lengthened.

I told him I loved him.

I thanked him for choosing me to be his wife.

And then I could feel it coming.

His last exhale was long and stretched and soft and gentle. It seemed a good way to end.

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