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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: The Last Goodbye
By Margaret Villanueva


The room is a tomb, utterly silent now that the respirator has been turned off. After 11 days of measured breathing, you lie silent in the bed, your body not your own. It is time, now, to do the impossible. It is time to tell you goodbye.

I walk slowly around your bed for the last time. I was cowardly-I did not stay with you when the doctor removed the breathing tube. I was afraid that in its death throes your body would rise up and accuse me—point at me and blame me for not being strong enough to bring you back to the living by pure force of will. I hear your quiet voice hush me. I know you don’t accuse me. You love me-more completely now than ever before.

You are so quiet, querido. It is hard getting used to the emptiness in this room. Your body remains, but your voice has been forever stilled. Your eyes will never again shine with the glow of love and mischief. There will be no more early morning conversations, no more late night debates. My love, sleep. You have earned your rest.

I continue my journey of farewell. It seems a million miles around your bedside. As I bid you farewell, I lovingly touch your arms—so cold! And yet your chest is still warm. The extremities lose warmth first. I file the extraneous information somewhere in the back of my mind and move on.

Your face is still and peaceful. The battle is over. Over at 35. You will never again hunt or fish, shoot with your children or drink with the boys. I miss you so-my heart is breaking already. How can I ever live without you? Ssh. Now isn’t the time for these thoughts. There will be many achingly lonely nights for that. Now is the time to say goodbye.

But how can I tell you goodbye, my love? You were my life. Yours was the only lover’s caress I ever knew. Your kiss, your touch, your scent all were like home to me. I can still hear your voice. Will it always call out to me in spirit as it does now? I hear you, my darling. You tell me that all is well. You are safe with Him. My love, I know that. Please understand that I’m happy for you. But my dear, I am so sad for me.

I know that this time must end. We have to part. It takes every bit of strength that I have for me to walk to the door. But then I realize that I’m not yet ready to leave. I come back to you, take your icy hand in mind, and beg you to remember me. Wait for me. Keep me in your heart as I keep you in mine. I seem to hear your voice say, once again, “ssh” Your still body somehow is able to let me know that you will not forget me. When I see you in Paradise, you will remember me. You will take me by the hand and together we will come to the feet of the Savior.

Sleep well, my husband, until then.

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This article has been read 363 times
Member Comments
Member Date
stanley Bednarz02/25/10
Powerful in its subtility. A strong undercurrrent that rises in waves to meet our emotions reading this.
Dana McReynolds02/25/10
This is very powerful and heart wrenching.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/25/10
What a wonderful tale of love and devotion. The grief was palpable.
Author Unknown02/26/10
You really did a beautiful job conveying this woman's new loss, the freshness of it,her mind and heart both vying to be in charge. I love that you use querido. A beautiful term of endearment hard to translate- so much more than darling. The only red pen thing I have to offer is to maybe lessen the repetitive thoughts/actions- but then, I think it adds a bit, too-- it's realistic to think it over & over. Nicely done.
Ada Nett02/28/10
Anyone who has ever walked a "million miles" around a bed that holds the body of a recently departed loved one will deeply identify with the words you have written. Your writing is both tender and strong.
Genia Gilbert03/03/10
Very touching. It conveys both human grief and heaven's peace and hope. Well written.