HOLDING: Holding on to Life By Marea Needle

Word: Holding
Word count: 443

Holding on to Life
By Marea Needle

I’ve gone through the 5 stages or maybe the 9 stages, I don’t remember the number, of grieving
and dying, and I’m not the one dying. My wife is. After I screamed and swore at god with every
curse word I knew and kicked in a few doors, I realized he had nothing to do with it. That I have
accepted. Then I thought about the high priced doctor with his well-known reputation who told
me: “Mr. Harris, there is nothing more we can do for your wife. Just take her home.” Perceiving
a doctor who ordered standard treatments that didn’t work, who followed procedure because he
knew nothing else; again: I’ve accepted his failure with resignation.
Now, my wife lays in bed hooked up to a morphine drip, in and out of consciousness. Once, a
tall vibrant sunflower facing heavenward, she has become a frail wisp of a leaf, her outline barely
discernable under the sheets. I sleep in the recliner next to the bed, fearful of leaving in case she
breathes her last. So, I think, what is this life; breathing, thinking, doing, loving? Where does is
get you? The breathing, doing and thinking brings you to love. That’s where profoundness
begins. You find someone or something and it clicks. You’ve found your way home. Then
you’ve trekked roads where love became complex, maybe routine and annoying; others might
have left but you remained. Now this is where it ends for me: my wraith of a wife out of sync
with her former existence, and I barely holding on. I’m hoping to awaken from the horror of this
endless night. I’m disoriented; one foot here, the other; who knows where…
I think: Is my unresponsive wife dreaming? Has she moved into a transitional life before she
takes her last breath, getting used to whatever comes? I sit here wondering about the scheme of
things. How will I be after her death and burial? Imagine being six feet underground moldering
for decades on end. It’s cruel. Visiting a rotting corpse covered up by a bronzed hinged casket,
with beautifully manicured greens and a granite stone engraved with your surname on it, waiting
for YOU! Well, that was what my wife wanted, so I respected her wishes. I will be cremated, no
dirt covering me. I want to be swept up by the winds and travel to parts unknown. But I’m
digressing now. I keep watch on my wife with sorrow, holding onto Life while she does the slow
tango toward that other place we will all call our final tomorrow.

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