My husband was ill ten months with cancer when I had the dream. I had been taking care of his needs for almost eleven months, and even though some days there seemed to be progress, in hindsight I see it was really a steady progression on a downhill curve.

One night I had a dream I was upstairs in our two story house and looked out my youngest son’s window, which faces a large back field. I could see a large machine coming inexorably closer and closer toward the house. It made a terrible racket, almost like a threshing sound. With fear, I knew that it was going to come into the house through the back, into the kitchen and to the corner of the living room where my husband sat. I tried to call out and warn everyone, but I couldn’t speak. I ran downstairs, hearing it get closer and closer.

When I got down to the living room, my husband’s chair, where he always sat in the corner, was totally gone. The machine had come through the back of the house as I’d feared and swept him and his chair away. It continued around the front of the house and across the side yard.

I heard my youngest son talking out side to a friend of my husband’s, and the talk was normal, as if nothing had occurred. I wanted to cry out, but it was no use. When I awoke, I knew with certainty my husband was going to die.

I never told him about that dream. I couldn’t talk to him about it. I was afraid to acknowledge what I knew it meant. I was doing the best I could to keep my husband alive, but in my dreaming state, I knew he was going to die.

That day was the first time I acknowledged the truth of his impending death. That afternoon our regular hospice nurse arrived, and my husband asked her quietly, without fanfare, how much time she thought he had. I just stared at him, not saying a word. She said based on her experience, probably two or three weeks. I went into a numb state. I was not expecting him to confront his own death and mortality in this manner. And yet, it was only natural he would know the end was near. I had been denying it to myself.

When the nurse left, I walked outside with her. I told her of the dream I’d had. She put her arms around me in my distress. I faced the truth that he was going to die.

That week, my husband refused to let me put any of the protein rich formula I had been preparing for him, into the enteral pump, his only source of nutrition. I tried to argue with him, but he was quietly adamant. I still see the expression on his face. He simply said, “No more.” That was it. That was his way of telling me this is the end. Two weeks later he died. It wasn’t discussed, we didn’t’ tell the kids he no longer wished to receive the little sustenance his stomach could take. It was just done. Should we have discussed it with the kids? I don’t know. We talked with them about everything else. Most importantly, their father continually told him how much he loved them.

The last week is a mixed collection of jumbled memory. My husband didn’t sleep well, since he dozed on and off all day. He developed a bed sore that we were trying to cope with, but had to be incredibly sore. His focused turned inward. There was little verbal communication, and I stayed by his side most of the time. At night, he would be awake at two or three in the morning, and he’d drink cups of water at a time. It was amazing, considering he hadn’t been able to drink or eat in three months or more. He became incredibly weak, and I could no longer lift him to help him onto the commode, even as light as he had become. My heart cried inside, but there was nothing I could do, except love the man I had married twenty years before. I was exhausted, and knew I couldn’t take anymore. I wished for him to go to sleep and asked God to take him. His passing was relatively peaceful, but I always wondered if it would have been easier if we had talked more about him dying.

Author's Bio: 

Elaine is a writer across various genres, published in women’s fiction, but also enjoys writing children’s books, self-help and screenplays. She is a mother of three boys and when life saw her a widow at 47, she eventually picked herself up and wrote about her experience. The resulting book, A Journey Well Taken: Life After Loss will be available June 2008,