In 2007 my husband and I bought a small Tennessee farm and spent the next two years happily repairing and improving the old farm house and barn on the property. We were enjoying all our projects and seeing the farm take shape.
In 2009 my husband had an accident while he was putting up fences that caused a small wound in his arm. He ignored it, wrapped it in a bandana handkerchief, and continued working. The wound became infected, which the doctors said had “turned septic”. This is just a fancy word for blood poisoning. He was very ill and all of his vital organs, especially his lungs, were very badly damaged.
My beloved husband of 62 years was never the same again. He had to have a sleeping mask that would turn on when he quit breathing. This was to control his sleep apnea. Soon afterward he had to have oxygen at all times. Several times an extended hospital stay was required.
When he returned from his last stay in the hospital he called our daughter Mary Ann and me to his bedside and demanded a promise that we would never put him in the hospital again. Many days he was not in touch with reality and was drifting in and out, sometimes clear and sometimes understanding nothing. The second stage of Alzheimer’s was setting in also.
Mary Ann, who is a nurse, said, “Mom, let’s move everything out of the living room and set it up like a hospital room.” No sooner was that done than he failed to recognize either of us. Mary Ann gave him the most tender, loving care --above and beyond expectations. I could not have done it without her. For two weeks we could not communicate with him.
This was such a sad time for me, as day by day he moved further and further away. At 3:00 a.m. on April 28, 2010, as I slept near him on a cot, he called my name twice. I jumped up and ran to his bedside. Very clearly he said to me, “Ann, I love you very much.” I had heard of moments of clarity shortly before death, but I had never seen it. I called Mary Ann and together we sat on either side of his bed holding his hand. We hoped that he could understand that we were telling him good-bye, and how much we loved him. At 7:00 o’clock that same morning he quietly passed away.
I shall thank God forever for that last time to say “I love you” and to say “Good-bye”. What a wonderful blessing!