Last year on this day, George slipped into a coma. The last time he would kiss me back and respond to me was today. I’ve been thinking about how sweet he was even until the end. I would ask him if he loved me and he would nod his head and pucker his lips. It was so sweet. He was one of a kind.
Tomorrow I head to Philadelphia to run in my first half marathon. I carry with me a lot of mixed emotions. I am focused on the race, but I feel like having this race is impeding my ability to grieve.
I need to go home. I need to be with my parents. But first I need George’s strength to pull me across the finish line before I fall apart.
George became very agitated before his coma. I remember how he would thrash when anyone touched him. He would swear and just be plain nasty. I remember how horrible it was to watch him transform into someone I couldn’t recognize or see him act out like that. I do recall these memories with so much love in my heart, but I feel it would be dishonest if I portrayed it out to be a smooth transition. Liver cancer is horrible. It’s awful to watch. And I remember very clearly those moments when he would shove me away and tell me to fuck off. It burned me, but the hospice nurse always reminded me it wasn’t him, it was the toxins building up in his body. If the liver isn’t working properly, toxins build up, the thrashing begins, and the horror slowly is burned into your memory.
George was the sweetest man ever, but when he slipped into the coma there was a sense of relief that he was no longer aware of the suffering. Watching a loved one die is traumatic. This lead up to the anniversary is like trying to run away from an avalanche.