The Final Goodbye

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Sun May 03, 2009 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  The Final Goodbye

This is a very sensitive subject, and I hesitated a lot about posting it, so please don't read it if you will be upset by euthanasia. Thanks!

- X -

The present mixed with reasons gone,
And past and present all as one.
Say, maiden, can thy life be led,
To join the living with the dead?
Then trace thy footsteps on with me;
We’re wed to one eternity
- John Clare, 'Invite to Eternity'

The room was darkened, to try and soften the light which hurt her eyes and irritated the constant headache that she had. Every tiny thing that he could do to make her happier, to make it easier, he had done, no matter how big or small it was. He’d moved furniture around, spent an afternoon cleaning the paintwork because it annoyed her that her room wasn’t tidy. He’d even brought in all the pictures of the family that they had, framed, and placed them about where she could see them.

But no matter what he did, Jack knew that Joey was dying. He hadn’t needed the second or even third opinion that he sought to confirm it. It didn’t seem fair, somehow; she was still young, though her hair was interwoven with grey and her face was losing the youthful look it had always carried. She was still younger than him. She was still a school girl at heart.

The illness had taken its toll on her, made her even older than she had been previously. Anyone looking at the couple now would assume that he was the younger of the two, even though the stress was showing in his face too. He’d all but quit his job, not to be disturbed by anything at the San. unless it was urgent. Someone had to look after the children, the twins especially, they were still so young, and Joey, and make sure Anna was doing her job properly.

He sat beside her, holding her hand loosely in his own. She was asleep again; she did little else now, her energy spent. He could remember all of the times when she was younger, and they were sure that they’d lost her, sure that this time they wouldn’t be granted the miracle of keeping her. This illness really was fatal, though, they knew that. Even Jem could only offer suggestions for making her as comfortable as possible until she was called to God’s side.

He and Madge had taken up semi-permanent rooms on the Platz as soon as they could after hearing the news. Madge came over at least once a day, although Joey had stopped recognising most people some time ago. Sometimes she would be lucid, addressing Madge with a cheerful, sisterly greeting that was all her own. Other times she would start to tell her about school business, thinking she was Hilda Annersley, or mistake her for Matey.

She was stirring, now, her eyelids fluttering gently. She turned her head, her lips parted ever so slightly, her hair falling across her cheek. Jack had had it cropped once the summer months came and, rather than running around the garden after one of the children, getting involved in their games, or holding a party for the Chalet School staff, she had been stuck inside. At first she was furious, but she quickly succumbed to his argument, more comfortable with her old bob back. She didn’t look like Joey, though.

He stroked her weak fingers tenderly as she awoke, smiling down into the familiar black eyes. She smiled back, but when she tried to speak her voice was hoarse and she could barely croak. He placed one finger over her lips, a silent order. He knew what she was going to say. Instead he busied himself, reaching behind him for the glass of milk that she always had at this time. His heart stopped as he pressed the cold glass into her shaking hands, and he shook nearly as badly as he helped her to sit up.

She rested against the pillows, worn out just from that exertion. Slowly she took a sip of the drink, but from the dull look in her eyes he could tell that she didn’t even know it was milk. He encouraged her, made her keep sipping at it until it was gone. He had to. He knew what was in that drink. This time, though, it wasn’t a simple dose to make her sleep after a shock. This time she would be asleep for eternity.

It had taken a lot for him to do this. As the weeks of suffering built up, and he spent more and more time by her side, until the only time he left was when Madge came, he’d vowed that he would do it. But it scared him, to know that he must kill someone in cold blood. Several times his hand had hovered, but he could never quite work up the courage to tip the tiny, ground up pills into her drink. Once he managed it, but stopped himself before he gave it to her. And each time it hurt more, because each time he was willfully letting her pain continue.

Last night had decided him. He couldn’t sleep in the bed with her anymore, but he’d set up a camp bed on the floor so he was there the instant that she needed him. She’d spent all night, tossing and turning, and once or twice she’d given low moans as pain racked her body. After a while, though, she calmed down, and only her laboured breathing told him she was still in agony, she just didn’t want to wake him anymore. The interminable hours, when darkness crept across them and clung to his chest, had given him the courage that he needed.

He had no qualms now. He had taken the most drastic steps to protect her, breaking the law, breaking the word of God. When he had first thought that he could help her, save her this, his conscience had been unable to bear the thought of what it must mean. But after all of this time, all of this pain, eternal damnation had been nothing to him compared to seeing his Joey, his youthful, energetic, happy Joey, having to go through this.

He took the now empty glass off of her and put it behind him. For once he risked snuggling up on the bed next to her, his cheek pressing against hers. Her fingers interlaced with his, and he pulled her so close he could feel her breathing, her tiny, emaciated body digging into his. He kissed her hair, stroked it back. He would stay with her until the very end.

Jem had come as soon as Anna rang, running through the short, sweet turf. He knew what the phone call meant. He found Jack still curled protectively around Joey’s body; a quick feel of her wrist told him what he already knew.

Jack was crying silently, the tears dripping onto Joey’s pale cheek until it looked like she was crying with him.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun May 03, 2009 7:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye

So, so sad - and Jack's actions are no more than anyone seeing a loved one in such pain, hasn't at least considered. :cry:

Thank you ChubbyMonkey

Author:  Jennie [ Sun May 03, 2009 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye

Very understandable when you see someone in constant pain. I don't think anyone would criticise Jack at all.

Author:  hac61 [ Mon May 04, 2009 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye



Author:  francesn [ Tue May 05, 2009 3:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye

That was heart-breaking, beautiful and very sensitive. You really brought across the way Jack was feeling and the difficulty of the decision.

Thank you for having the courage to post.

Author:  linda [ Tue May 05, 2009 8:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye

That was beautiful, but very, very sad.

The most difficult decision anyone could ever have to make, particularly given Jack's faith.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Wed May 06, 2009 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye

Poor Jack and its a heartbreaking situation to be in

Author:  JellySheep [ Wed May 06, 2009 3:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye

This is heart-breaking, but really well written. What illness does Joey have? You really got the difficulty of resolving to take such a step, of trying to break through the barriers holding him back.

Author:  leahbelle [ Thu May 07, 2009 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Final Goodbye

That was very moving, and sensitively written.

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