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The Strength Of A Child's Love

I'm sitting on the floor of my bedroom next to my dying husband's hospital bed. I have to type one-handed on my phone because I'm using the other to balance the foot he keeps trying to fling out of bed every time he bolts upright unable to breathe or in pain or scared or agitated or I don't know what because he lost the ability to communicate coherently sometime in the past twenty-four hours.

On the queen- sized bed we used to share, my friend who has selflesslessly spent weeks by my side is asleep for a few minutes before our next round of bedding changes, morphine doses, and the never-ending quest of trying to make Bob comfortable by guessing what he wants/needs.

There's also this stoic energy in the room that sits alongside the other side of Bob's hospital bed in her father's Lazyboy chair. It's just past midnight, but her eleven-year-old eyes show no signs of growing tired of wiping her dad's forehead or fetching his medicine.

And then, as the night wears on, our son takes his sister's place at his father's side. He lays his cool hand on Bob's sweat-soaked head. He tells him about the online game they used to play together, how he's teaching spells to our friend, and new games he's playing -- always keeping one hand on Bob's head.

My children, who've expressed their fear of having their father die at home, are sitting vigil at his bedside as he draws his final breaths. No one asked them to come into our room. In fact, until now, they've spent little time in here, especially our son. I wonder if they sense it -- this most simple part of being animals -- the end.

I don't know how long it will be, but I know it will be.

Reader Comments (156)

Love to you, Bob, your children. Love to you all.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercravenheart
You must have just posted, because I just checked 5 minutes ago. I am SO sorry, hon. {{{hugs}}}strength & peace.

I WILL be here.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Cruz
Your words, as always are beautiful, but I hate this post. I hate it so much I would scream right now if possible. Yes, I knew Bob first but through him I met you and I feel like we've been pretty good friends these last 20+ years. I love your children becuase they are YOUR children. I love you ALL with my whole heart Leah.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
Just more LOVE to you and Bob and those wonderful children.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterblondediva11
I'm here, and I send all my love.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarley
oh honey.all my love to each of you.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteriamchanelle
Our hearts and hopes are with you. May you all have the strength to get through the days ahead.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPolarBear_
So much love to you all. I wish for you strength... courage.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Jo
Love to you, and to your children. They sound like wonderfully empathetic kids.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan (WhyMommy)
Sending you thoughts and prayers.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKes
You are all such amazing, strong people, and I am in awe of you and your wonderful family.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered
Love to all of you, Leah. You are all in my heart and in my prayers.

April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynn
Hold all of this love around you like a blanket. Prayers of strength and peace to all of you, always.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen
There is nothing good about your situation, but he is ever so lucky to have the three of you there with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBen
I really have no words. But I'm sending you strength in this moment--all the strength I can possibly send to all of you. What a courageous moment for all four of you. May you all find comfort, may you all find moments of peace, and may you treasure every single second you have right now.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGenie
All my love to you and your amazing family.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermichele
Heartfelt sympathy and love to you and your family. xxx
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSeraphim
My deepest sympathies - the words that try to mean so much and just fall flat - still belong here, because you have them. The spot you are standing in with your children is smack in the middle of the valley of death, and none of us, not one of us, ever wanted you to be there. You should not be there. But because this world is cruel and Bob is released from his pain now, you are there, and he is gone, and there aren't any words to touch that pain. But please - please don't forget - bot for a single moment are any of you in this alone. You are held, cradled in our hearts, and you will stay there as long as you need comfort. May peace be with your family during these coming days.

April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter@kristeneileen
*not for a single moment are any of you alone.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter@kristeneileen
all my love to you, bob & your children.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercherilyn
I'm so very sorry. I wish I could say something useful...
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGrumble Girl
Leah, there's nothing I could say that could make anything better, but know that you and your family is in my heart and that I'm thinking of you.

You have been such an amazing inspiration of grace and strength and love.

I am so sorry for your loss.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
He is a lucky man to have you all there with him. I wish that you didn't have to go through this. Hugs!
Your love for Bob and your family has often brought me to tears, and I am crying now for your loss. You are so beautiful and incredible. My condolences to you all. Thank you for sharing your love with us all and letting us hold you in our hearts. I hope you find comfort.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
Love to you and your family. My heart is with you.
April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdebshock

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