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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Donít Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: Questions of Who First
By
04/19/12


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We never talked about it, he and I.

The end. The final parting.

It didnít have anything to do with

fear. It was more of a dread. I

guessed it was for him, also.

But then, he went and did it. First.
######

I gazed at his emaciated face, pale

and gaunt against the whiteness of the

bedclothes. His sunken eyes no longer

recognized me. Bones protruded from

his cheeks like rocky crags. His lips

resembled the bluish-black of a night

sky. A hint of a smile lingered at the

corner of his mouth, as if to drive

home the fact that he went first:

there, I did it and we didnít even

finish our discussions.
######

He and I understood, even without the

use of words, that the inevitability

of either one of us going first was

certain. He and I had a mutual

understanding that when the time came,

there was going to be complete

acceptance. No regrets, no remorse.

Fear drove us not to talk about it,

the time when death was to separate us

from each other. Dread held our

tongues silenced. Talking about what

was beyond our time together became a

taboo. It became a painful subject ,

even.
######

When I thought about it and opened the

discussion on the matter, my throat

tightened. I ended up in tears. He

hated my tears. He said my crying made

him feel like a weakling. Thus, we got

no farther than silent remorse. At

other times when I was able to hide my

tears, we fell into huge arguments:

life beyond was nothing but a complete

separation, a withdrawal from the

world as we knew it, heíd say. There

was nothing to look forward to. It was

a total break, an absolute and

unconditional split. It was like

cutting a stick in two, with both

sides utterly cut off from each

other...
#####

It all started when he got ill, very

ill. At the doctorís, I felt the heavy

thump against my breast, like the

ghostly ringing of a bell in the

thickness of a fog. Suddenly, I didnít

want to be there. My knees weakened

but I caught hold of the stair

bannister to stop me falling.

Nevertheless, I shook uncontrolably,

my stomach gurgled with a double dose

of nausea, I perspired profusely, and

somewhere in the cloud of my mind, I

heard the doctor confirm the

beginnings of Alzheimer for him. I bit

my lower lip to keep from screaming. I

dubbed at tears that misted my eyes. I

realized at that moment the enormous

task of caring for him, the agony of

watching him fade away. The sickness

in my stomach bubbled like a boiling

volcanic lava.
#####

The silence between us grew more grim

as his illness progressed almost every

day. He growled at me when he lost his

reading glasses. His deafness bothered

him, that led him to lash out at me.

He no longer had control over his body

functions. I suggested diapers but he

made it an issue that gave him more

reason to fling abuse at me. He was

sarcastic and viciously angry on a

daily occurrence. The oral venom that

spouted out of his mouth was totally

out of character.
#####

I nursed him at home in the early

months of his illness. I learned to

ignore his insults, reminding myself

constantly that the sickness made him

the way he was behaving. I cleaned up

after him when he spilled most of his

food on the floor. I bathed him daily.

I fed him his favorite burger, a

recipe which I concocted years ago. I

dressed him before we took our walks.

Through it all, I treated him with as

much kindness and love as my patience

allowed.
#####

I cried my tears to the wind as I held

on to the side of the slow-moving

boat. I dropped his favorite hat into

the choppy waters of the Pacific

Ocean. The sea swallowed his ashes

into the dark abyss of the cold water.

Heavy mists sprayed the bouquet of

roses that he loved dearly. They

scattered and floated away with the

tide, my heart among the fragrance. I

felt the warmth of a kiss, and

imagined it was him bidding me

goodbye. I noticed dark clouds that

gathered in the horizon, that kept

pace with the movement of the boat. In

a moment of despair and longing, I saw

him, his eyes smiling, his arms wide

open, calling me...

The End


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This article has been read 318 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ada Nett04/26/12
Your words evoke visual images and heart-felt emotions. I like the way you describe your feelings and thoughts in short choppy sentences. I was drawn into your words all the way till the beautiful ashes and roses -strewn ending.
~Cathy~
CD (Camille) Swanson 04/27/12
Oh my - this was so powerful and filled with so many emotions on so many levels. Simply brilliant. It was painful to read, due to the sadness that crept in...but a harsh reality of what happens when a loved one gets ill. You managed to capture the emotional torment and anguish perfectly on paper.

Thank you for this story. If it was a true account, my sympathies. God Bless~
Colleen Fischinger 04/27/12
Wow. I have lost dearly loved as well; Your writing hit heart-home. Thank you for sharing...
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/29/12
Wow, I need to blink a few times to clear the tears from my eyes. You drew me in immediately and I felt my understanding match the pace of his not understanding. I could relate to much. Even though Alzheimer's hasn't impacted my life in this way, there were other parts of the piece to which I could relate. I have a death phobia that's been acting up lately. Though the fear here was one more of seperation, God still whispered in my ear and I was comforted by your words.
Angela Coleman 05/03/12
Congratulations! This is so emotionally gripping. The way you write really made me connect with what you felt.
Wondeful job.