June 29, 2016
“I know you are anxious to get on with the business of living, but she’s just not ready yet. I’ve taken care of her, led her and loved her for over 57 years. Yet, I never had the heart to prepare her for something like this.”
This is the dialogue I imagine I am having with Mr. Uruguay; or rather, the conversation he is having with me. I have taken up my post on a plastic couch directly across from my dying friend. Should he open his eyes, I would be directly in his line of sight. However, that is not likely to happen.
Mrs. Uruguay is generally seated to her husband’s right, in a recliner of the hospital’s finest plastic. Now however, she is bustling about on the other side of the room as the nurses are fussing about their patient, “Trying to keep him comfortable.”
The Uruguay’s son is pacing anxiously at the foot of his father’s bed. He was in the middle of shaving Mr. Uruguay’s three-day stubble, as per his mother, when the Nurse Angels flew into the room. By his nervous gait, it is obvious that Mrs. Uruguay’s son is not used to not following his mother’s directions, thus the nervous stutter-steps.
Mr. Uruguay’s daughter-in-law is curled up, crossed legged on the other available recliner, pecking away on her iPad, sending and receiving messages to and from parts unknown. Daughter-in-law is a registered nurse. So, this appears to be old hat for her.
The Nurse Angels flit out of the room as quickly as they flitted in, and the process of death falls like a hush over the room’s occupants. And here is where I imagine mine and Mr. Uruguay’s conversation picks back up.
“She needs a little more time to get used to me dying. I mean, it’s only been three days since we made the decision to stop my nutrition and hydration. And although she knows I’m dying – thank her for the priest and my last rites, by the way – my lovely bride needs just a little longer to accept that she is going to be alone. I owe her at least that much.”
And so it goes. Slipping towards death, just as he was in life, .Mr. Uruguay is still in control. Mrs. Uruguay is a quick study, however. And although there is a vast emptiness in her soul, she is beginning to take control of her life and her husband’s death. It is hauntingly beautiful to watch. And so it goes, and so it goes.