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From a Crab's Perspective

by Ann Ulrich Miller

Posted on September 13, 2008 by Web Dreams


On Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, at 9:55 PM, my beloved husband and soul mate passed from this life into the next level.

It has been a long journey. Ever since we found out in February 2006 that Ethan was going to die, I began grieving. Now, two years and seven months later, he has completed his journey and his suffering is over.

For weeks I have prayed for his release from the misery of his illness and the limitations of his failing body. I've watched a remarkable man with so much courage and strength transform into a dependent invalid, and it tore at my heart as well as those who love him. Why did he have to suffer like that? And why did he choose to hang on for so long?

I hope that in all this time I have learned what patience is. The lessons have been difficult, and I have to admit it's been my biggest challenge so far. After Ethan came home from nine days in the hospital at the end of July, life changed. He needed me full time and there were many nights when I felt so exhausted, I didn't know if I could go on.

Yet through all of this, Ethan kept his positive attitude, always ready to invoke smiles when people came to see him. Many, I'm sure, didn't realize just how bad off he was because he had this knack for showing his best side when things were their worst.

Yesterday I think we both knew in our hearts that it was the last day together on earth. He never left his bedside. The chaplain from Hospice came and we had a good, long talk. Then the aide arrived to give Ethan his sponge bath, which he so much enjoyed. I fixed us a dinner of Ethan's favorite food, salmon cakes, along with potatoes from our garden and organic broccoli. He finished with Jello and a few sips of coffee.

When the Hospice nurse came that afternoon, Ethan conveyed his wish to be released. He had made up his mind that the time had come. For the next six hours the three of us sat together and waited. Ethan labored through those hours, and it reminded me very much of a birth. He put up such a fight, yet he wanted to let go at the same time.

In his last ten minutes of life, I went and got his book, NIGHT OF THE WHITE RAVEN, and sat at his side, reading him the first couple of chapters out of the book while I stroked his arm. He finally grew peaceful as I read to him. Then, he simply drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

It was a beautiful moment, his passing, and I am happy I was able to be there when it happened, stroking his arm. I loved him so much in that moment, and continue to love him with all my heart and soul.

After some necessary phone calls and all the drama had settled down, I made myself a piece of toast and a cup of tea and sat down in the living room to catch the news about Hurricane Ike sweeping southern Texas. I was feeling emotional with tears and great sadness. I didn't know how I was going to get to sleep that night.

Suddenly, I noticed the blue light on the satellite TV modem flickering. It had never done this before. I stared at it, trying to figure out why it was doing it... and then I KNEW. It was Ethan signaling me. When I called out his name and acknowledged his presence, the blue light stopped blinking. This occurred at exactly 11:55 pm, just two hours after he passed.

It was Ethan's way of telling me goodbye, and yet it really isn't goodbye. He's with me still, only in spirit, and I feel his love that runs deep.

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