Larry died at 9:02 last night, April 2, 2019. He was finally ready, but it was so hard to let him go, so hard to say goodbye.
His pain is gone, but the pain of loss is in every cell of my body.
Yesterday, he was with us and responding at 3 pm, surprising us all by saying goodbye to the CNA. He nodded his head when I asked if he loved Cody, again when I asked if he loved me, then nodding again when I asked if he thought I was beautiful. Hey, why not go for it?
My daughter and her husband sent beautiful messages of love and admiration which I read aloud to him. He was able to nod when I asked if he had heard them. My son called and told Larry he loved him on speaker phone. Cody read him Bible verses. I read from a book he used to read to me at night – a list of 10,000 things to love in the world, like morning dew, and ball games, and fireflies.
At five o’clock things started to change. Instead of days, we knew we had hours. We cancelled with dear friends who were coming to cook us dinner.
His son Cody and I sat at his side, holding his hands, crying and making jokes. We continually were in awe that Cody, who lives a busy life on Cape Cod, was with us for this moment, for this final transition.
This is my third death bedside watch, Cody’s first. And the most intimate and irreverent. He would have loved it. I hope he did love it.
By 7, after canceling friends who were coming to cook us dinner, we were guilty to admit to each other we were hungry. I didn’t want to leave him for more than a minute so I ran to the kitchen, grabbed a few beers, and some cheese, and fruit, and chips and guacamole. We had a “deathbed picnic,” toasting him lying on the bed and passed the guac back and forth over him. He would have loved it!
By 8 we thought he’d left us but after a long silence – his head relaxed against the pillow and his breathing stopped. We started to cry with our foreheads against his. All we heard was our tears.
Then… he drew in a loud breath, scaring the heck out of both of us and started breathing regularly again. Really, Larry? Just like when he’d hide around a corner and jump out at me.
He did that repeatedly until finally Cody said, “I wonder if maybe they just don’t have his room ready so they keep sending him back.” We got a good laugh out of that.
Cody sang a song to him called “Nobody Knows.” The first line is ‘nobody knows how to say goodbye.’ Oh, &^^%%!
We felt all the love coming from all over the country, like those airport flight tracking maps with all the red lines of love joining in Osprey Florida. And yet it was perfect that it was just the three of us in the room, no healthcare workers, no strangers.
Finally, at 9:02 he was quiet.
I didn’t know how hard it would be to say goodbye. We had told him we loved him so many times over these last days. We’d told him the wishes of love that so many others had sent. What more was there to say?
Larry, you showed us how to live. You showed us how to laugh. You showed us how to live and laugh while dying. You were always you. As Sam said “you were just a good person all the way through.” You were an incredible partner, an incredible parent, “which will forever be a gold standard for me,” said Krista.
You fed us great food, you made us happy.
You loved well. You were loved. You will always be in our hearts.
That’s why it’s just so damn hard to say goodbye.