Maribella Genova – Colour Green
The television was always loud, yet I dared not ask him to lower the volume. I wanted him to enjoy his last few months, as he desired. The room was chilly, the reason I gave my jacket a permanent place behind the hospital door.
He looked at me with a blank stare almost as if his body was present, but his soul had already departed. Curiosity led me to ask, “Honey, what are you thinking of?”
He replied calmly, “I was thinking of the colour green.”
He continued, “Grass is green.”
“Yes, it is,” I said.
“The New York Jets are green,” he added proudly.
No wonder; he was the biggest Jet fan I knew. He followed them insistently no matter their performance, and he requested me to bury him in his Jets jersey instead of a suit. “I’m not a suit kind of guy. Don’t make me one now,” he announced.
“You are right; the Jets are green.” I agreed.
“You know what else? My coffin will be green.” He said boldly.
I was mortified. My body turned cold, frozen and I did not possess the strength or courage to reply. That my dying husband was envisioning his coffin’s colour immediately threw me into a path I was not emotionally equipped to take.
You would think that eighteen months of his cancer roller coaster would have brought me to a place where surprises had no effect on me. Yet now, no matter the constant awareness of his death, this intimate detail was too much for me to bear as it reaffirmed reality; soon this coffin would be his home. I felt crushed and paralysed. I sat in the chair with the same blank stare he had just given me, finding it hard to sustain my breath, holding back the tears for him not to see.
As I became unglued, I was amazed at his unusual calm. His voice held no fear and his words were grounded in peace and endurance. He was dying and I needed his sanity. His manner was an inspiration to the chaos in my spirit, warming me with delicate harmonies of stillness, which brought me back to the present.
I took three deep breaths, closed my eyes, and rested in his peaceful presence. I embraced his calm in my heart while our clenched hands diffused warm, healing energies. My dying husband was my healer; my role model, his demeanour was enlightening, and I promised myself to associate with my inner strength to get through the tough times. I would not let him down. I let my tears drop unobserved, got up, kissed his forehead and told him how much I loved him.
He replied, “I love you too.”
I returned to my chair overlooking the volume of the television or the temperature of the room. Somehow, it did not matter anymore. There was nowhere I would rather be but next to him at that magnificent moment.