Friday evening when I walked in the door his eyes were closed, he was comatose, they said. I spoke to the room at large, not knowing who to address and asked if there was any indication that he would know what was going on, as they were deferring to each other to answer I turned to look at him and his eyes had fluttered open. He was looking at me and then he smiled. I walked to his side and asked him if he had told his son the great joke we had played on the nurses a few days before, he nodded and whispered, “I said you are beautiful”. Cancer had ravished his body but it had not taken his faith, his serenity, or his sense of humor. Backing up to last week, I had gone in to see him, Jerry Hamilton, and the nurse said they had just taken him down to radiation, and asked if I would like to go to where he was, “Of course I want to go if it’s allowed”. The nurse asked me to follow her and I followed her noticing how her shoes were squishing on the tiles as we hurried along. She took me onto an elevator that said, “Staff only” and we went down to Radiology. As we approached another nurse she asked if Mr. Hamilton was already in radiation and then announced that, “his wife wanted to see him”. I was shocked and wondered if that was why I was given the VIP tour to get down there, so I didn’t say anything, the other nurse sympathetically took my arm and led me to the waiting room and told me she would let Mr. Hamilton know that his wife was there. Since I had already walked what seemed like miles to get into that huge hospital, having had to change parking decks twice to get to the right one, I didn’t want to be ushered out and since Jerry didn’t have a wife I thought it would do no one any harm. When the nurse finally came and asked for Mrs. Hamilton I stood and she took me to my “husband”. When I got to Jerry I quickly sat down and told him what had happened, he chuckled and said when they told him his wife was there he thought it was a case of mistaken identity, as he said that the doctor walked up and addressed us as Mr. and Mrs., Jerry looked at me and with a wink at me said, “Yes, that’s us.” The doctor began giving him information about his condition, unpleasant news and suddenly I was very glad that I was “Mrs. Hamilton” because he took my hand and squeezed it and turning to me said, “I’m just so tired of this, I want to go home.” She told him he couldn’t go home because they had only given him four treatments of the thirty that he needed, again he looked at me and moved his head side to side in a “No” motion. I accompanied him back to his room and waited till they got him settled and gave him a blessed dose of morphine to ease his pain. I slipped out as he fell asleep.
Back to today at 6:18 AM Jerry, loved friend to many and faithful member of our church, finally went home. He had told me that he had peace about what was happening to him and now he has a new body free of the cursed cancer and pain.
For us life will go on as usual, but there will be one smiling face that will be dearly missed until we see him again, and we will.