The last time Scott spoke to me was a month ago yesterday. Sadly, I don’t remember the last thing his voice said to me. I don’t remember because it was a crazy, chaotic weekend with little sleep and lots of decisions. Mainly, I don’t remember, because the last time he was able to speak to me, I didn’t KNOW it would be the LAST TIME.
He didn’t want the breathing tube. He didn’t want to die. At one point, if he had a shot at living, he HAD to have the breathing tube and I had to make that decision. I wanted him to be the miracle, you know, a person on a talk show talking about how he came back from the brink of death. That Saturday, I still hoped that would be him. He was in too much pain to make a decision, so I signed the papers and allowed them to put it in.
That’s when I signed his voice away. Once the tube was in, he could not talk any more, and he never talked again. That weekend, I consented to many procedures that may or may not prolong his life. I consented because I wanted him to live. I wanted them to take that tube out and I wanted him to have his voice back. So many undeserving people get last words, and I wanted Scott to be able to say anything he wanted to say before he was called back home to Heaven.
However, before I completely beat myself up about the decisions I made in order to keep him here, I can’t forget the fact that while I do not know Scott’s last spoken words, I know what his LAST WORDS WERE.
As soon as he awoke with the breathing tube, he kept trying to talk. I grabbed my iPad and he punched out, “Could Get the markers out of my mouth.” His nurse explained that it was the tube, and yes they were like markers. No, they couldn’t come out until after his surgery.
Those were not his last words, and for that I am eternally thankful. My husband’s last words are meaningful and beautiful and they were spoken in sign language. Our family’s sign has always been the one handed “I LOVE YOU” sign in American Sign Language. We have used it since the beginning everyday, many times a day, to silently communicate when spoken words did not cut it.
Right before the surgery, when Scott was still very lucid, he looked at me many times and flashed, ” I LOVE YOU.” I flashed it back. I prayed with him, and God gave me the words, and he kept nodding, and I knew then and there that from this point forward, I would be his voice.
Seconds before they took him down, a month ago yesterday, Scott flashed “I LOVE YOU” to his mom, our kids, and other family members who gathered to be with him. One of my most vivid memories from that weekend is when he flashed it to me, for the final time, as he entered the OR for a procedure that we prayed would prolong his life for a few more months.
The day he died, my son asked, “What were Daddy’s last words?” With a heavy, yet peaceful heart, I answered, “I love you.” They might not have been spoken, but they were his words all the same.