I sit beside your bed through the long, long night and I pray for the first time in years.

‘It won’t be long…’ said the kindly doctor, squeezing my shoulder gently before he left the room and yet I re-visit our whole lifetime between sunset and dawn.

I recall my resentment as I sat beside you on sunny Sundays while the preacher threatened eternal damnation… but you remained my Rock of Ages through every storm.

I often turned away when you advised, suggested or tactfully hinted at solutions to my frequent dilemmas and dreadful choice of partners. You silently implored with sorrow-filled eyes but never once said, ‘I told you so.’ You would sit with me as I purged my soul. You didn’t judge, didn’t complain. You just listened.

Pollyanna-like you turned every tragedy, and there were many, into a triumph but here now in my darkest, darkest hour there is no rainbow. I can find no gladness. My rock is crumbling before my eyes.

How can you be taken now? Why has your God forsaken me, when I need you more than ever?

In the early hours you draw your final rasping breath and your once strong hand slips from mine onto the coarse cotton coverlet below.

A nurse brings a mug of lukewarm tea with a generic biscuit.

As the first golden sun rays filter through the half-closed blinds, I kiss your cheek one last time and bid you goodbye.

Then as I stumble along rabbit warren corridors alone… I hear the cry of a new born babe.

My prayer is answered.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
11 months ago

A very sad and emotional story, Sandra.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
11 months ago

Hi Sandra, who was it that said – no one escapes – tax or death? It must be one of the hardest subjects to write about, be it personal or of someone not known. There are always words of comfort but none register at that moment, but in time you heal. The thing is Sandra, the Rock will always be part of you, loved ones leave much more than memories. You wrote this wonderfully.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
11 months ago

All kinds of emotions expressed here in one short piece, Sandra.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
11 months ago

Watching a loved one slip away is one of the most sad and emotional times of our lives. You captured the roller coaster of emotions we go through brilliantly Sandra. Really well written.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
2 months ago

Sandra, your story evoked so many emotions. The beauty of the relationship they had was well-told and you conveyed your protagonist’s emotions so well. Although it was a very sad story, it still gave hope of new life at the end. Great story.

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