It's been four weeks since Yves died. As I write this, at about this time on that Saturday morning, his respirator was turned off and he slipped into death, surrounded by his family and friends. I was not there, as I had said my own goodbye to him earlier that morning.
In a way, what happened feels as if it was a lifetime ago. It's difficult for me to believe that it's been less than a month. The past four weeks have worked me over like a "work of art." Some days have had moments so painful, I have fantasized about ending my own pain in a permanent way. Other days have brought moments of such exquisite beauty and understanding of life that I have thanked Yves, again, for the gift of his presence in my life, brief as it was.
I have not been able to contemplate, with too much acumen, questions about the afterlife. This experience has not suddenly made me a Christian or a Buddhist or anything in particular. The only thing I can tell you with some certainty is that is has made me a more calm person. There is a whole realm of fear that has been lifted from me. I am no longer afraid of death. I have seen it. And while I am not ready to embrace my own death at this particular moment--there are still things I want to do, and I have two daughters to raise and watch grow up--when death comes, I hope that I will slip into it as peacefully and surrounded by as much love as Yves was. I think that's the best we can hope for. A peaceful, loving death.