Ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls,
I mentioned in an earlier post that my wife’s weekend hospice nurse, the magnificent Karen, had explained to me that the process of Pam’s death has already begun. There are lots and lots of indicators, many of which I’ve described to you. She’s stopped eating, she’s stopped drinking and she’s stopped talking. In fact, she’ll probably never speak again. Isn’t that something? Pam has told her last joke, recited her last prayer, given her last opinion, made her last observation, uttered her last sentence, dropped her last F-bomb. It’s done. Can you get your head around that? To tell the truth I’m having a lot of trouble making sense of it myself.
Earlier today — when Pam and I were entertaining my brother and sister-in-law — I went off on one of my extended teasing jags about my nephew (only gentle, loving teasing of course 😉 ) and my brother eventually told me I’d gone on long enough. “By this time,” he pointed out “Pam would have reined you in.” Not today, though. Not ever again. In one sense I feel ‘set free’; but that feeling will get old fast. Pam and I were a conversational duo (with me as the straight man, of course) so I’m going to have to learn an entirely new way of talking. It’s funny when you think of it, but I’ve long depended on her quips in order to make my own work. Pam’s still with us; but the Pam & Paul show has closed — after a twenty three year run.
There’s something else that only lately occurred to me, which is that I’ll never get another chance to hear my wife tell me that she loves me. Well, I could hope for a miracle — I’ve heard that, sometimes, folks make one last rally before they go. She might have something more to say to me; but if she does, don’t bet money that it will be something I want to hear!
When you get down to it, though, it was a miracle that she ever shared those three words with me. I’ve never learned the explanation as to why she loved me because there’s no explanation to be had. I’m just a lucky devil and I happened to have a treasure drop into my lap. Can’t take credit for that. Pam entered my life back in 1989 and somewhere along the line she turned to me and said, “I love you”. I should have marked the date on my calendar, but I didn’t. I don’t know the anniversary, but it really happened; and it happened on such a day and such a time. She must have made a very first declaration.
There was a first time, and now the last time has come and gone and I didn’t make note of that date either. I suspect, though, that the last day she told me she loved me was the last day she had anything to say to anyone, and that day was Thursday. Why don’t we put September 27th down in the book? The other date will remain a mystery. The memory is lost, but I know there was a ‘first time’; and, apparently, there’s been a ‘last time’ as well. What matters most to me, however, was that there was a long, long ‘between time’ and she told me she loved me a lot, a lot, a lot of times.
One thing that used to irritate me (because it was irritating!) was that, often, when I said, “I love you” to Pam she would say, “I know”. I know??? What’s that supposed to mean? “Tell me something I haven’t heard”????? I told her I loved her, but I could have neglected the gesture and she still would have known it. I didn’t like being told I needn’t have bothered, but its’ a comfort to me now. What’s an even greater comfort, though, is that — now that she can no longer make the gesture — I know it without her having to say.
There was a last time she said, “I love you”; but there will be no ‘last time’ for me to believe she loves me.
That’s all for now,