This story is by Alisa Russell and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
No words were spoken as the doctor closed the door to the hospital room. Trevor looked at his wife Lily who was sitting near his hospital bed. “At least we know now. Stage 4 cancer.” The words came slowly. “They said we could try chemo, but it’s not much of an option because…of everything else and because…I’m not sure…I have any more fight left in me.” He wondered what his wife thought. His life had been a race of perseverance just to see how much he could endure, but he thought of what he would be missing—graduations, weddings—especially his daughter’s. He took a breath, which came slowly, almost too slowly. No, it was time, no more pain, and the thought brought a content smile to his lips. It was good to know the reason which had brought him back to the hospital.
Lily, on the other hand, fiery red-head that she was, couldn’t resist a retort. “You don’t want to fight? You want to die?” She shook her head doing her best to conceal the relief she felt. Her strength was at its end. The last few years had been a struggle. He had had illness after illness, all something that could have claimed his life. She had meant her marriage vows said over twenty years ago, and they had mostly had…a happy marriage, but each illness, each episode of his chronic condition had taken its toll on both of them—physically, emotionally, and financially. She was tired and didn’t think she wanted to fight anymore either. Verbalizing it before now hadn’t really been an option though, and it would have made both of them feel worse than they already felt.
Her husband’s voice brought her back to reality. “Yes, I am happy.” He squeezed her hand with all the strength he had left before resting his head on the pillow. “When I’m gone, you can get back to living and maybe, have a chance to be happy.” Lily jumped, ready to protest. “No hon, it’s ok. You don’t need to say a word. I can tell. I know it’s been hard. It’s been hard on all of us. You, most of all, because you’ve always stayed strong for me.”
A few, final remnants of protest came to her lips. “What about the kids?” Their two teenagers had walked down to the hospital cafeteria with a few of their friends.
“Kaitlyn and Derek are almost grown. I think you can handle it.” He squeezed her hand again. “Now, don’t spoil the moment. I’m going to be with Jesus.” He motioned to the equipment he was hooked up to. “No more of this stuff.”
The weight lifted from Lily’s shoulders. Derek was right. He was going to see Jesus. The one thing all of them should be looking forward to. She smiled at him. “You’re right. What do you think heaven will look like?”
Time in the room slowed down, and she could see how weak he suddenly looked. His voice came in a whisper. “It will be the most beautiful place I’ve ever known with blue sky that goes on forever, and white, puffy clouds. But most important…”
Lily leaned forward thinking the time was close. “What’s the most important, Trevor?”
“There will be no more pain, and there will be love like I love you, Lily, only it will be perfect like it’s supposed to be in heaven.” He smiled, and it seemed like the smile of angels before his eyes closed. The life support machines began beeping rapidly, and Trevor’s nursing care team ran in. Lily backed up as she was used to doing, but there were no tears. She had cried them all much earlier. There was only peace because she knew her husband was with their Lord and Savior, and she knew she would see him again. She spoke softly. “I love you, Trevor. Thank you for showing me true faith.”