Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nothing but sad

It is Hilda and Andy Byrd's twenty-third wedding anniversary today. Andy shared this information with Nicolas and I, tears running down his face as he looked up at us with his beautiful clear blue eyes from his always-present wheelchair. He told us lots of things about Hilda, the love of his life. He told us that she had not wanted to be put on ventilators, if it should come to that, but that yesterday, after a surgical procedure to remove brain tumors had failed, she had whispered to him, "Let them put me on the ventilator. I want one more chance, Andy." The ventilator wasn't the last chance she had hoped it would be. Her body gave up the fight, despite her spirit's strength. Andy held her hand and she was able to squeeze his in response, when he told her that she could let go, could leave him. Moments later, she was gone.

He told Nicolas and I all of this when we reached him at the funeral home, taking our turn in the long line of people who were there to give their respects. Hilda was so loved. She was a foster mother, an organic farmer, long-time wife and caretaker of Andy. She had ten siblings. Her strength was palpable. It seems impossible that strength such as she had could ever have been diminished.

I have another forty-something year old friend who is in her final fight with cancer. I have to believe that she will kick its butt. But if Hilda could not, I wonder.

"Tell each other every day that you love one another" Andy said to Nicolas and I.

Every day.

Not just my husband, but also my children, other family and friends. Oh, my friends. Just in case you didn't know, I love you.


gail said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Madeline.
And I love you. Many hugs.

kelli said...

I'm sorry this pain is in your life and so many others right now, love you too.

laura said...

i love you too madeline! thanks for the reminder to love big and real every single day!!

FLO said...

I'm so sorry for this loss. Love back atcha.

mamak said...

I hate frigging cancer. But yes, we should tell each other everyday.