Chapter 3: 30 Hours.
6.30pm we were pronounced married.
People came and went. I left people alone to spend time with him. He chatted and laughed. Everyone left crying.
It was hard.
Nope, that doesn’t cut it.
Just before midnight came around, i had gone to my room upstairs in the Hospital to put my PJs on (black skeleton t-shirt and Marvel joggers!). There was no chance i was staying the night away from him, it was our wedding night, after all. You are meant to be awake all night, aren’t you?
Tom’s parents, sister and B-I-L were staying in the hospital too and i returned downstairs to his parents sitting silently watching him sleep. We sat together quietly, just watching his chest rise and fall, whilst the clock ticked over to Sunday 7th Jan 2018.
They went to bed and a nurse offered me a brew. About 1am she brought it through, i sat at the end of his bed with my feet up and drank my tea. Like any normal Saturday night, a brew with my best friend!
I was brought a reclining chair to ‘sleep’ on. I laid and watched him all night. Pressing his buzzer when his drips finished. Smiling to him every time he startled awake, to throw up the black bile that just kept coming. Just being there every time he looked scared. He would see me, then close his eyes and sleep again.
He talked in his sleep. It was at times funny, other times heartbreaking. He was reliving memories.
Around 3.30am his breathing got heavier and i asked the nurse when we should think about calling his family to come down from their rooms, she said not yet.
We got to 6.30am before i said i thought it was time to call them. The nurse agreed.
They all came through and we ditched the plastic aprons. It wasn’t going to change a thing.
He woke up a short while later saying he was waiting for one last friend. I called him and he set off immediately. Tom managed to joke with him. It was as though he had reserved that energy for one last chat with his oldest friend.
Once he left, Tom said he was ‘holding on until 12’…We presumed mid-day which was only about two hours away.
He requested a brew. His last cuppa. We all got one too and sat together to drink them.
Tom asked a question,
“Is this the time when i can start making demands?”
Of course it was. He said he wanted a cold can of coke. I ran up to my room and brought a can of….DIET coke. He was not pleased. It was so funny that even when we thought he was approaching his final minutes, he was still being demanding! Thankfully his Sister sorted it out.
He drifted off to sleep again and his sister and i played music and sang to him.
We sang Elbow – One Day Like This and the most amazing thing happened. Even though he was seemingly totally asleep, Tom sung a line of the song with us.
“Kiss me when my lips are thin…”
Of course my darling.
Various songs and chatting between each other whilst Tom slept. Mid-day approached and we all got ready. Tom was usually right with things so we trusted him after saying he was ‘hanging on until 12’.
Only 12pm came and went and nothing changed.
His breathing worsened but he just kept going. And going.
We took it in turns to go out of the room for a break, whist one or two stayed with him. When all together we shared memories of Tom’s life. We hugged and cried and took it in turns to hold his hand.
We put his headphones on him with his favourite album.
At one point i was alone with him. I took his headphones off him and asked if he needed anything. He hadn’t responded to anything for a few hours, but this time he opened his eyes wide…
“No…Actually yeah! An ice pop!”
Erm?!?! I thought you were going to die any second but you want an ice pop?!?!
He got the ice pop. It was a bit of a shock for everyone to come back in to that in all honesty. It was at that time he said his final few sentences…He told us that,
“Ice pops really are the future”
He also sat messing with his sick bowl, when we asked what he was doing he said…
“Living life on the edge with my sick bowl!”.
That was his last audible sentence. Of everything it could have been. It was funny and so representative of him.
No more time awake after that.
A couple of hand squeezes.
Mostly just deterioration of breathing. Breaks in his breathing and with every silence we thought that was it. Then he would start again.
Those hours were haunting.
Midnight comes around. As the date changes on the clock, to Monday 8th January, he went very quiet. Still breathing, but quiet.
He was right, he was holding on until 12. He just trolled us a little by not saying which 12!
We sat. Prayers were said. We held him. We held each other.
His breathing became very shallow.
My head on his chest, i heard his heart slow completely. His breaths barely there.
One last heartbeat.