Thoughts of a Dying Man

A man. A hospital. A life slipping away.
A collection of thoughts from a dying man.

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6. .

I got married to my Ellie in 1954. The date was July the second and it was a beautiful summers day. The birds were singing their songs of love and happiness and the Churchyard was filled with our family and friends who had all come to give us their best wishes.

I had met Ellie three years before when we were both eighteen. She had traveled up to Yorkshire for her sisters birthday and I had run into her on the train station. Being the clumsy fool I was, I managed to drop the drink that I was holding all over her. I promised to her that I would pay for new clothes or for a cleaning but she would simply not allow it. Instead she insisted that we meet for a coffee sometime. And that was the start of our relationship. 

The time I had with Ellie was the best of my life. She was so full of life and energy. She was my soul mate  We went to France, Italy and so many other places together. Our life together was magnificent. But that all ended in 2009. 

Yet again I remember the day clearly, but not for the same reason. November was the month and it was snowing much earlier than usual. The pavements were fraught with danger but she insisted that we needed some milk. The milk man had not been able to do his usual deliveries and we were all out. 

"Joseph?" She had called up the stairs.

"Yes love? What is it? " By this time I was making my way down the stairs towards her.

"I'm just going to the shop to get some milk. We're all out, darling." 

"Ellie, you know what the pavements are like. Just let me take the car- the roads aren't that bad." 

"Well I need to get out of the house anyway," I noticed that she was all ready to go out. She was wearing her large coat, scarf and gloves. She had intended on going out for a while "you know how I hate being cooped up like this."

It was true, she did hate having to stay in for a prolonged period of time. "All right, but please be careful, honey." I planted a delicate kiss on her forehead. "I love you."

"I love you too Joseph." And with that, she left. Little did I know, it would be the last time I would ever see my Ellie. 

The next day I was in the hospital looking over upon Ellie as she lay on a bed. The doctors were placing a tube into her arm. I hadn't been allowed in whilst they were doing this but soon enough I was sat next to her, perched on the end of her bed as I held her hand. I took her left hand and cupped it in both of mine. She was so small and fragile. How could I have let her go out alone?

When the doctors had called me that morning I was already hysterical. A trip that would normally take about ten minutes had taken over twenty four hours. I had called the police after one hour and reported her as a missing person. They said they could not do anything until after twelve hours and that I should occupy myself with something else. But I couldn't, not while my Ellie was missing. I cleared the car of snow and began to look for her myself. After another three hours of searching I gave up, not of my own free will, but because the car was out of petrol. Sleep evaded me and it was the next morning that someone got back to me.

It had been the hospital. Mrs Eleanor Evans had fallen whilst walking yesterday and had been in the snow overnight. Was I her husband? Did I know how she had fallen? What had she left the house for?

I answered the questions quickly, eager to get to the hospital as soon as possible. They told me before I left the house that she had been exposed to the cold air for too long which had lowered her immune system and that she had contracted pneumonia.

When I saw her, so angel like on the hospital bed, I broke down. Tears formed  streams and then rivers on my cheeks, my throat felt like it would close forever and I choked on my own fear. 

I remained by her side right until the end. Twelve o' clock- midnight. I had fallen asleep on her chest and was harshly awoken by the beeping of the heart rate monitor. The tears started flowing once more as I screamed manically for a doctor, a nurse, anyone who could help her. Help arrived after what seemed like a lifetime and I was pushed to one side while they did their job. They battled against the heart rate monitor for half an hour until they eventually gave in. They called the time and gave me some time to myself. 

Ellie was gone and I was alone. 

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