This was it. The last time he would see her alive. Although she wasn’t really alive. The doctor had said that the only thing keeping her alive was the respirator. She was officially brain dead. Too keep her like that, would help neither him, nor her. So he had to let her go. But that was the hardest part. Letting her go. He had spent four years as her husband, three as her boyfriend, and before that, he was her friend. They had known each other for almost twenty years. It felt like centuries to him as he stood before her body. And that was all it would ever be. A body. No longer could she walk and talk, and do all the things that made her the woman so many people loved.
She had been in a coma for a week. A week that felt like years. It was the longest week he and their friends had ever known. Every minute seemed to take hours. Every hour took days. And all the time, they were hoping she would walk through the door, telling them that she was alright. For a whole week they sat in vigil. Her husband never left the hospital. He had worn the same clothes for a week.
That day had seemed so normal, so consistent with their everyday life. They were taking their daughter to pre-school. A bus had rounded the corner, out of control, and rammed into the three of them. The two-year-old girl had been killed instantly. The man had been thrown clear of the wheels, suffering only a broken wrist. And the woman, she had suffered major head injuries. Their friends knew life would never be the same again. But they had hoped she would pull through. She had always done so before. But not this time…
As he sat, holding her hand, a familiar song came on the radio. He recognised it as The
Way You Look Tonight. He got tears in his eyes as he listened to the familiar lyrics.
Some days, when I'm awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you...
And the way you look tonight.
As the song went on, he remembered all the good times they had had. Whether it be just the two of them, or their family of three, or all of their friends.
Yes you're lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft,
There is nothing for me but to love you,
And the way you look tonight.
And there were the bad times too. The fights. The almost-break-ups. The times he slept on the couch. The one time she slept on the couch.
With each word your tenderness grows,
Tearing my fear apart...
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose,
It touches my foolish heart.
But they had come through it all. And now it was changing. Forever. He would never be able to hold her, kiss her, tell her he loved her. He was holding her hand now, but it felt cold, clammy, like she had been swimming for too long. Never again would he feel her hand warm like it usually was.
Lovely ... Never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it?
'Cause I love you ... Just the way you look tonight.
She was a body now. A body with working organs, but no working brain to tell them what to do. In some ways she was a robot. A machine was keeping her alive, she had no control over what she did, not that she could do anything anyway.
And now the time had come for her to leave them. They knew she would never truly leave them. Her spirit would always be kept alive as long as they remembered her. But her body, and mind, they would go.
Leaning over, he kissed her lips gently, breathing in deeply to smell her perfume. He ran his fingers through her hair, and traced her face with his finger. Then he reached over and flipped the switch.
TO BE CONTINUED….