Ivy’s husband was called Wally, although his full name was Walter. Wally was dying. He was conscious, but confined to bed. Ivy would sit by the bedside and tend him.
Occasionally of course, she would leave him alone while she went to the kitchen, or bathroom, or did something around the house. Wally was asleep most of the time, so it didn’t greatly matter. Often one of their grown children would come to spend the night or day. Often too the doctor or nurse would visit. This time, Ivy was there alone.
Ivy went to the kitchen to prepare the evening meal. She left Wally semi-dozing. As she returned she stopped in the passageway just outside the bedroom door. She couldn’t hear any breathing. Had he died in her absence?
Ivy courageously walked into the room. He was dead. After hours of sitting with him, he had died alone. His eyes were open, staring into nothing. They terrified her. She closed them. She kissed his forehead.
She phoned the number she had been given to call when such a thing happened. “Come in an hour to pick him up,” she said. “Just give me an hour to sit and say goodbye.” They had been married forty-seven years. She phoned the children. She waited for them. She sat by the bedside and cried.