My soul mate of 17 years passed away quietly in his sleep yesterday morning. I thought I'd prepared myself for it, but had no way of knowing what a big hole it would leave. Earl had been such a big part of my life. He was full of life. Always looked out for me, worried over me, protected me. Even in ill health he often thought of me first. He taught me so much and was so good to me. I can't imagine life without him, even now that he's gone.
He never really gained full consciousness but he could respond with a nod of his head, a squeeze of my hand. Once he patted me on the head, his way of saying it was going to be okay. That tore me up. But it also gave me peace because he knew he wasn't alone. That was important to me. No one should die alone in some sterile hospital room if it can be helped. The hospital staff was so helpful and accommodating to us. They moved a cot into the room so I could spend the nights there.
The only comfort I have is knowing that he's not suffering anymore. The last year he has been through so much, and been in so much pain. We often prayed for God to take him in his sleep, to end the suffering. One morning before Father Jason arrived from Colorade I saw Earl make the sign of the cross. I asked him if he wanted to pray. He nodded, so I gave it my best try.
I took his hand and began, "Please, God, look out for Earl, and end his pain. Please welcome him into heaven. Please don't let him haunt me (as he threatened to do many times), and give him back his voice so he can sing again. His legs so he can golf again. And okay, he can haunt me just a little." To which Earl smiled.
Earl had a beautiful smile. I'm going to miss so much about him.