I have been avoiding this entry. It will be the hardest thing I have had to do and yet I feel I must. It speaks of the day Bill died; it speaks of how I am so angry with him for leaving us as well as the only regrets I have. Please do not read this with a critical eye for grammar and sentence structure. It is raw and I do not know if I will ever be able to make it final. I hope that one day I will be able to ... but for now, it is meant for my healing.
So many times I play back in my mind, the events leading up to his final breaths but I leave out the actual event itself. How I felt. I should have simply held him. I see him sitting on the bottom stair holding his head. I see the clutter my painting the back deck had caused in the kitchen and the walkway between the kitchen and the dining room being cluttered by clothes on the rack, I see tons of shoes in front of the back door, I see him pacing in this mess and how he simply could not get comfortable.
I remember suggesting that we go to the hospital and feeling relieved because he didn't want to go. This meant that it was muscular - right? I remember following him up the stairs and running a bath and I can still smell the soaking salts I added to the water. I remember watching him get into the tub and placing a towel on his back so that I could run the water down it to warm and hope it would help. I can still hear Casey looking for Motrin and coming in with Robaxacet. I see him taking it and then his asking when was the last time I cleaned the tub. I see myself sitting on the edge of the tub running the water over his back. I remember feeling relieved when he said thank you; that the pain was still there but what I was doing was helping. I remember him also saying that he had started feeling the pain when were playing but he had simply eased up on the effort. I remember him saying that it felt better and me saying I would get him some A535. I remember watching him get out of the tub and starting to dry himself off and then simply saying "no ..." I watched him grab onto me as he fell and then watching him gasping for air.
I banged and banged on the door to get the boys' attention and tried to move him from in front of the door. All the while, his eyes were bulging and he was turning purple from his chest to his scalp. He struggled to catch his breath and Seth pushed his way into the bathroom. I heard myself screaming, "Don't leave me now Bill, don't you dare leave me." By now, his eyes were closed and Casey was coming in. Seth worked at keeping his airway open. I remember pulling on his arm which caused him to gasp. I kept pulling not because I wanted to move him, but because it was now getting a reaction. I slapped his face and all the while I knew he was dying. So why did I not simply take him into my arms? My last memory of his warm skin will always be my yanking on his arm or slapping is face.
I left the bathroom now, being practical; needed to get dressed, get Casey's equipment out of the way. All I could hear was Casey counting as he administered CPR. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 .... 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 ... as well as a quick call to my sister asking that she meet me at the hospital, "Bill is having a heart attack."
The firefighters came first and all I remember is watching them casually walking around the vehicle moving quicker only after I yelled to hurry up. Casey still counting 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. They took over, boys leaving the bathroom, Seth looking for Bill's wallet - paramedics arriving, the sound of their boots on the stairs, of the first shock being administered to revive him.
I hear myself asking if Bill was still alive - no answer. Wait some more, another shock being delivered - "Is he alive?" - no answer. Why are they not moving? Why have things gone quiet? "Is he alive?" - no answer.
Then I saw him being brought out of the bathroom with his beautiful head slumped forward and no longer discoloured and I knew. Oh God - I knew he was gone. My thoughts erratic, I remember thinking that he was leaving the world the same way he came in -- naked!
I watch as they placed him on a stretcher once outside and his arm slipped off the stretcher - I knew. I watched as they walked the stretcher to the ambulance, delivering for show another shock from the defibrillator, his arm again slipping off the stretcher - I knew.
The evening was cool and the headlights from the emergency vehicles turned everything surreal ... my sons' out waiting for their father to be loaded into the ambulance, the smoke from my son's cigarette drifting upwards - we knew.
We came back into the house to find my keys and his wallet to follow the ambulance to the hospital. I remember feeling unrealistically calm. We followed the siren, the flashing lights into the night; parking and walking up to the hospital where my sister was waiting. I remember saying to her that he was dead. She said not to think that way, but I said again, "Bill was dead." Casey stepped out for another smoke, Seth gone with the firefighters so that they could get their equipment from our home and I am in the family room with my sister when the doctor came in. He simply said, "It is not good. He died."
A very brief manic moment - then calm again. I asked to see him; went to the room without the boys. Bill's spirit had already moved on. No warm light, he had already left. I just wanted to wake him up. I asked him to wake up and my sister said that he could not, he was dead - as if I didn't already know that.
The boys came in calmly. No tears, no cries hardly able to approach their father's body. Seth called Ben to inform him that his father was dead. His voice quiet and respectful of Ben who was so far and having to receive the information over the phone. "Not a joke, he is dead." Everything calm, calm, calm. All I wanted to do was scream, scream, scream, much like I want to do right now!
I fought so hard to resist the urge to climb onto the stretcher next to Bill and lay my head on his shoulder one last time. I did not do this because I did not want to scar my children in that way, so now this is my last "I should have" regret to bare so that my children can live without this memory.