Reading George Merrill’s honest, heartfelt account of his diagnosis and journey brought me back to my husband’s and my last journey.
Six years ago, we were driving to a hospital where doctors would surgically remove a metal scaffolding from his broken leg. Doctors couldn’t understand why his bone wasn’t healing or the source of his excruciating pain. After removing this metal device, they would be able to perform body scans to diagnose a rare, advanced, terminal cancer.
They didn’t know that this would be the beginning of his last journey.
But somehow we did.
On the long drive to the NYC hospital, I impulsively I put in a CD; one that we hadn’t listened to in decades…it was the music that we fell in love to. He touched my arm and smiled, “I would have picked that, too.”
And instantly we were transported back to the time before life’s annoyances and pressing demands overshadowed love. Squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, late nights at work, career setbacks, parenting struggles…all of those melted away. We were back in love, for the last time.
Every day we talked as we hadn’t talked in years. And we cried. We cried a lot. He would ask me to remarry…still wanting to care for me after he was gone. I promised him that I would take care of what remained.
Hospice workers will tell you that this is a common occurrence. They see it is a privilege to witness and assist these couples’ love stories.
Because love doesn’t end when someone dies.
Love is our superpower.
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.