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‘She is already on the highest dose of morphine, this is all I can add.’ The tall, distinguished doctor says as he gently empties the injection with a sleeping cocktail in Renee’s arm. ‘She will sleep till the morning.’
‘Is there anything we can do to make her more comfortable?’ I do my best to keep my voice steady as I place my hand on Bette’s shoulder and hope without any hope that he will give me some magical wand that will save us all.
This morning, Renee suffered from a major seizure, nothing we saw so far. It was heart-wrenching. So at some point, I asked Bette to call the doctor, that was the only thing I could think of to snap her out of her fearful trance. It seemed to last for hours and at some point I even thought this is it. Touch and go. Renee was in so much pain, the suffering so visible.
‘Unfortunately not, you should prepare yourself…’
‘How long?’ I ask while I feel Bette’s hand covering mine, finding solace in that mutual comfort.
‘It’s hard to say at this point. But if you have something left to say, do it in the upcoming days.’ Hearing his words, my only concern is Bette. There will be a time when I will allow myself to mourn, but not now, now she needs me. Her chin trembles, but as always she carries herself with so much dignity even when her hand catches a tear that got caught in between her eyelashes. ‘I’ll see myself out. You can call me anytime if you have any questions. I wish you a lot of strength in the upcoming period.’
There is a thick book on the nightstand next to the bed, where I left it last night, after reading to Renee until she fell asleep. When the door closes a whiff of air flips the pages, paper rustling in the still air. Only a few more pages till the book is finished. Only a few more pages till the story is told. Next to me Bette sinks down in the chair. It’s impossible to make peace with the inevitable. Drawn in by her defeated posture I crouch down in front of her resting my hands on her knees. ‘Hold on. And when you feel you can’t anymore, lean on me.’