In the washroom, she is looking at herself in the mirror. Her hands are outstretched, straightening her rose petal pink dress. Perhaps she should have ironed it. Not enough energy. One big sigh is ejected from her lungs and then she starts the trial of putting on her make-up. She begins with her foundation. The colour may be a little off, but she attempts to blend it with her skin. She has done this a thousand times before; why does it feel so different this time? All right, it is now time for the eyes. She begins to apply the eye shadow. This is not the colour she usually uses, but it was what they recommended to her, to express the eyes. No eyeliner tonight, only mascara. The nude-coloured blush is, well, just going to have to do. Her hand rises and covers her mouth and another sigh exits her body. She looks over at the mannequin head holding the blonde coloured wig. Her natural colour is dark brown. “Well, this should be a change,” she thinks silently to herself. She grabs a comb, and starts brush out the knots and tangles. Again, looking in the mirror, she places the wig on her hairless head. She is thankful that someone told her that there are caps that you can put over your dry and flaky scalp that can reduce the irritation from the wig. There is powder, too.
Not recognizing the woman in the mirror, she turns to her husband. Without being asked, he smiles and utters the words, “Beautiful, just beautiful.” Some of the fear that she had, has now left her body. She feels the tension seeping out like sap from a tree. She puts on her shoes, and the pair exits their home.
They haven’t been able to do something like this for a long time. The nausea alone has kept her from going anywhere, and the blistering sores in her mouth were just so horrible, she could hardly speak without pain.
The couple has arrived at their destination, a beautiful home with a manicured lawn and brick lay work. The double wooden doors open and a man and woman answer the door. “Welcome. Everyone has been awaiting your arrival.” Together, they proceed into the main room where the guests are socializing. For one moment, brief as it was, she felt like everyone there had turned around and was staring at her. A wave of fear rushes through the woman’s body. Before anything occurs, her husband again, looks at her, sighs with a smile, and whispers, “You look beautiful and I love you.”
The questions came rapidly, like gunfire. Answering the same ones over and over again, it was absolutely exhausting. How is she ever going to get through all of this? Exhaustion. The man casually walks over to his wife and holds her. He has seen her like this before. Her heart is racing and again her husband comforts her. She looks at him and he knows. Holding his wife, he guides her back to the car.
This drive is a familiar one but it is not the drive that they expected this evening. He turns on the radio. An Eric Clapton song is playing, and he begins to cry. This is the song that they danced to when they first met. It held a lot of truth for him back then, but it holds an even deeper truth for him now.
When they arrive at the hospital, her doctor is waiting for them. They knew that when they took this day pass, there was a remote possibility that something might happen. The doctor and nurses took the woman back to her room.
Several months ago, during a routine check-up, it was discovered that she had a mass in her left breast. Only after several tests and an MRI did they discover that she had Stage Four breast cancer. The usual suggestions of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation were suggested, but only to prolong her life for a little while. Together, they made the decision to not have any regrets and together, they decided to push forward with all possible treatments that were being offered. The last few months have been about life and living. Her husband knew that they did not have much time, so for him, that was his call to make their life together, be just that, together. He took a leave of absence from his work to care for his wife (oh the adventures that they have had.) Yes they have been through hell and back with the physical aspects of the treatment, but their love for each other always seemed to transcend the pain that she had. She had opted not to have any pain killers. She just kept telling her husband that she wanted to feel, just feel something, more than a blurry head. “As you wish,” he would reply to her every time.
She is his love, his soulmate, his lifelong breath. She is his reason for being, and he is hers. Never did he meet anyone like her. Her strength was there all along, but watching her face death with dignity and grace, that he never thought was possible. She just carries on. He knows his role is to be there for her and be her support when she feels hopeless. His job is to remind her that she is oh, so loved in every possible way.
The hallways in the hospital are grey and white, not the most inviting colours, but they are what they are. As he walks to her room, on the palliative floor, he feels like his knees are giving out . He stops, and raises his hands to his face. Holding back, he releases a huge sigh. He turns into the room where she is, and stops and just stares at her. The nurses have removed the wig and all of the make-up. They have dressed her in her favourite jammies. He once again looks at his wife, his partner , and he sees this angelic glow. Death is nearing her bedside, and both of them sense it. He walks to her bedside and crawls into her bed with her, and he holds her like he has done many times over the years. She crawls back into him and gives him a look. He knows this look. He has never seen this look before, but instinctively, he just knows. He places his hand on her cheek and begins to sing to her. The only song in his head was the one that played in the car on their way to the hospital. Strange, it is like the gods of love and joy placed that song into his head. He could feel her slipping away, but before she was gone forever, he looked at her and sang, “You look wonderful tonight.”
A true love story. A story about two souls meeting and travelling as one. I have been witness to such love. Love. That is my favourite happy.
Through thick and thin, love does and will prevail.
Happy does it :o)