To have loved and lost
It’s All Souls Day, and I’m missing someone. I don’t want to ever love again as I did him. I don’t think I could go through the pain of loss again. One tragic ending is enough in a woman’s life. I loved him most of all, and he loved me, only me. But life is a traitor, and lovers are its first victim.
He just fell ill one day—very strange, totally unexpected. He had such stamina and a physique females drooled over. I felt so proud, because whenever we were out, while everyone had their eyes on him, he only had eyes for me.
He was never ill a day in his life—not even the common cold—so why now, so suddenly? Enough reason to take him to the hospital. He refused, he hated being fussed over. I insisted; he dragged his feet to the car to please me because I was already on the brink of panic. I drove—it was one of those times I’d wished I was an ambulance driver. But, of course, if it’s the life of your great love at stake, you wouldn’t think twice about beating all the red lights and to hell with the cops.
Little did I know that by forcing him to go to the hospital that day I would in fact be hastening his death. And up to now I still feel guilty about it. I really do. What if I hadn’t been so stubborn? Would he still be with me today? Why did he refuse to see the doctor? Did he have a premonition? Oh, I so miss him!
Fortunately, his doctor was in. An efficient lady, she acted fast—I was frustrated because she wasn’t telling me anything at all, but I trusted she knew was she was doing so I let her be.
If you have experienced a loved one dying in your arms so unexpectedly you would know the pain I’m talking about. Nothing prepares you for it.
I was at his bedside, comforting him as he took an injection—this macho guy was scared of needles. I stroked his head, his back, his shoulders, and whispered to his ear that everything would be all right. With that contraption over his mouth he could only moan and use his soulful eyes to show me he loved what I was doing, but when I noticed his nails getting dark, and darker, dread came over me.
We kept eye contact, but as the doctor pumped his chest, his loving gaze changed. He was no longer looking in my eyes—he was looking through them. I got goosebumps; that could only mean… The doctor washed her hands and came back to pump again—repeated it three times. Those soulful eyes were not saying anything anymore—they were open but glassy and remained so until the doctor gave up pumping. I was crying inside: No, don’t go, you’ll be okay, you can’t leave me now! But his eyes—those eyes that tenderly spoke to me of such selfless love, were now fixed on another world. I know—I have seen those eyes a few times at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying Destitute in Tondo where as a volunteer I witnessed wards at the moment of death.
Teary eyed I walked out of the room; I didn’t need to be told he was gone. Gone! Gone!!! I was silent but I shed copious tears as never before. In a few minutes the doctor came up and said “I’m sorry; I did my best…” I calmly replied, Ï trusted the injection to make him better but instead…” The doctor matter-of-factly said, “His heart couldn’t take it…”
His heart couldn’t take it? Didn’t she know what a patient can or cannot take? Her words shocked me but still I said nothing. I was calm but inside I cursed, really cursed her incompetence. Your license could be revoked for malpractice! I thought. But the next thing she said convinced me she was not just incompetent—she was also stupid, thus not at all worth my rage—or even a lawsuit. Would you believe—after apologizing, she asked me if I wanted him cremated! Was she a memorial plan agent too? Why do we have insane doctors like that?
Now over 30 All Souls Days later, a pang of guilt still haunts me—because I miss him. Could he have lived longer had I not dragged him then to the hospital against his will? I’d have devotedly cared for him even if he became a vegetable—at least I’d have had a little more time to love him and he would gently go. I never expected life to deal me such a devastating blow—the abrupt loss of a loved one. And that stupid crematory salesman of a doctor!
No way I would want a beloved one cremated—I couldn’t stand the thought of him turning to instant ashes. If I had my way, out of sheer remorse I would have just lovingly stroked and caressed his body in our bedroom until it decomposed. But then I would be more insane than the stupid doctor. So I had to be content just having my beloved near me, buried in the garden, allowing me to console myself by imagining he is still around, wagging his tail with unspeakable joy as I come home from work. Oh yes, his name was Macho. And that’s the truth.