Searching for Closure

Posted September 8, 2014 by

In January of 1998 I had a regular visit with Patricia (the Chaplin at the hospital). She was the easiest outsider to talk to about my grief issues. On this particular visit I told her "I don't know if I've come to some sort of acceptance around the death of my husband or if it is the calm before the storm. I am having a hard time functioning, When Gordon was ill I was like the proverbial energizer bunny rabbit. Now I am......... just lost."

He was always there for me his loving smile and an approving wink that said" I love you more than you'll ever know". He must have wondered where I went to that last night at the hospital when they whisked him away and told me to" take a seat in the waiting room!" So unfair I should have been with him to the end! I should have been able to say goodbye but circumstances did not allow it. I guess we did say goodbye in one way or another in the weeks leading up or maybe it began when he first showed signs of the illness know as AIDS. Along the way he was so brave, trying to protect me from things he had no control over. It hurt him to see what affect his battle was having on me.

I felt like I was grasping at straws trying to cope. I wanted immensely to blame someone for this script that was being played out as my life, so I told Patricia, "I think I 'm ready to hear the truth about what really happened to the man I loved, my best friend.” She agreed to try and arrange an appointment for her and I to sit down with Gordon's pain management doctor to see if it would give me some closure.

A week later I sat across from this woman I had very mixed feelings about. She told me she had no idea that I had questions until Patricia approached her. She informed me that Gordon did not have pneumonia like she had originally suspected but rather respiratory failure. His chest x-rays showed nothing and his lungs were clear.

Between sobs I told her that I had always felt that Gordon's HIV doctor had given up on him. She assured me this wasn't true, that it was much easier for her to come and attend to Gordon's pain management issues and that she consulted with his doctor regularly. She told me she wished she could have been there for me the night he passed. She shared with me that Gordon told the emergency room doctor that he wanted to die. This was so hard for me to hear, but I understood no one would expect him to stay when he had no quality of life left. She assured me that I did everything I could have for him. She then told Patricia how close Gordon and I had been. Patricia commented, "Sounds to me like it was Gordon's decision; he was the one steering the ship. He was tired and ready to go!" Through more tears I told them both, "If only I had known that we didn't have much time I wouldn't have been out speaking about my experiences living with this disease. Instead I would have been home with him.” The doctor told me "Gordon was very proud of you and what you are trying to accomplish.”

So I continue to tell my story. All and all, I feel it’s the what ifs, the couldas, wouldas ,shouldas, that do us no good, and only trip us up. I believe to this day my sister in-laws words that Gordon's grandmother looked down from heaven and said "I can fix this” and then took him home to rest. CM