Their Story

NBOutline_0004Wednesday, February 25th will be my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary. They’ll celebrate it together in heaven like they’ve done the last 17 years. The last anniversary they celebrated here on earth was Saturday, February 25th, 1998.  Daddy was admitted to the hospital that day and somehow, although no one wanted to speak of it, we knew.

I sat with my mom on one of the benches on the rooftop solarium at Cone Hospital that day. She wanted a cigarette and at that time you could still smoke in designated areas. I don’t think she ever did smoke, though. But she cried. I was thirty-seven years old and until that time, I had never seen my mother cry. My mother was a strong woman. But she cried that day, for just a moment, and said, “I’ll never bring him home.” NBOutline_0002

She then stood up, sniffled, smoothed her blouse and we went back in. My dad had mesothelioma. It’s a long, suffering, painful death. That week either me or my sister or my cousin would take turns taking mom to the hospital where we would sit all day and night by daddy’s side. He was still coherent and knew we were there. He’d make a joke; mom would roll her eyes. That was them—he’d crack a joke, she’d roll her eyes.

But we knew. It was a matter of time.

NBOutline_0001What we didn’t know was  how fate would play out. Mom got sick a week after daddy was admitted to the hospital. It was on a Saturday. They took her by ambulance to the E.R. where they had to put her on a ventilator. She had COPD but it was managed. Until the day she realized she’d never bring my father back home. She never recovered and was never able to be weaned from the ventilator.

She was in the hospital a few days the same time daddy was in a different room on a different floor. We didn’t tell daddy what was going on, fearing he’d give up and stop fighting. But he knew. Like mom knew she’d never bring him home, he knew she was there. NBOutline_0006

When we came clean, he wanted to see her. She wanted to see him. He had a team of nurses help him into a wheelchair and take him down to mom’s room. They pushed his wheelchair up to the side of her bed and they held hands. She couldn’t talk because of the ventilator but with those eyes, those eyes she’d rolled a million times at him, she told him she loved him. She told him not to worry, she’d be there to take care of him.NBOutline_0003

When they removed the ventilator, me, my kids, my sister and cousins took turns staying with her and staying upstairs with daddy so he wasn’t alone.

She died March 8th; he died 12 days later on March 20th. She was there, waiting on him. NBOutline_0005

 

 

7 thoughts on “Their Story

  1. What a beautiful story. It is amazing how fate works to keep two people together that couldn’t be without the other. My sister amazing and her husband are celebrating their 39th anniversary today. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a wonderful Love Story and not only did they love one another they taught their children about love and sacrificing for the sake of others. So glad I read this–it warmed my heart.
    Thank you Lynn for sharing!

  3. Oh my, I’m pretty sobby now. What a wonderful passage about love. And now, I’ll always remember *rolling eyes* in a special way. Many hugs.

  4. i remember that day so well, and the days following her passing. It broke my heart when Rae called me and said if you want to tell him goodby you need to get here. I left a room full of people that day and didn’t care. I had to say goodby to the man who loved me unconditionally. I loved Mr and Mrs Chandler.

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