Tonight has been filled with tears. It started with a conversation with my Grandfather. Every time he would stop talking to take a breath, I could hear his oxygen tank puffing air into his nose. I thought about how horrible it must be to not be able to catch your breath. Thinking of the morning TJ died is the same. He just couldn't breathe. There was nothing I could do for him. I would have given anything to be able to take away that suffocating pain. To take away the fear I saw in his eyes. The images of that morning are burned into my brain. Tonight, every time I close my eyes I see him standing at the top of the steps. His hands on his hips, his body hunched over. Head to the side, eyes closed, gasping for air.
I was there. I had to watch him die. There was nothing I could do to help him. I would have given anything to hold him. To kiss him. But I had to keep back. Give him room to breathe. I rubbed his back and cooed at him as calmly as possible. I couldn't think of anything else to do but to tell him I loved him and that everything was going to be alright. Inside my head was sheer terror. When I think of that morning, it swells within me all over again. I would have taken all of that pain for him. But there was nothing I could do.
I had to stand there and watch my love go through that. Helpless to do anything about it. The images and sounds burn. Waves of searing pain shoot through my body just remembering that morning. The last kiss we shared was from my lips to his. Lifeless. All passion and love flowing from me into his cold, firm lips. Holding his hands, warming them with my body heat. Tracing the outlines of his eyebrows. Leaning to press my forehead against his. Whispering softly "I love you, baby" over and over again. The memories of that day and the immediate days following are my personal internal horror film. I can't get away from them. They will never leave me. And I don't want them to. They are forever a part of me. It's who I am now. The woman who lost her husband.