I cannot seem to find my footing. Where am I? What has happened these past few days? How can I go on? What is my life supposed to look like? …What was our life supposed to look like? When can the healing begin and the hurting stop? How do I live without the one I adore so much?
There is no question John was not supposed to leave this earth…leave his family…leave our future…leave me as early as he did. Ask anyone…it is not fair. Cancer does not have a fair button. You cannot call some sort of “cancer council” and ask them to revoke the chosen few they have put their fury upon. You just can’t. I could only wish this existed…because I would have contacted them a long time ago…because this ending was not what we expected.
Wednesday, November 10 is when John started showing signs of fatigue more than the norm. His normal, like I have said before in previous posts is nothing like ours. His constant pain and feeling of helplessness came to a head this day….and he knew it. We kept him on the oxygen tank most of the night and he turned to me between his bouts of consciousness and said. “Baby…it is happening.” My heart fell to my feet…I replied, “Oh my angel…I love you.” These words, in this moment, were the only ones I could find. We both broke down…held each other and cried for what seemed like the remainder of the night. All of the doctors had always said John was like no other they had ever treated. His pain threshold was beyond anyone else’s and he always was two or three steps ahead of the rest of us. He knew his body, he knew where the cancer was spreading/had spread and he knew how much time he had on this earth. Even weeks before, his mom asked how much longer we had with him and he forecasted it to the exact day…unbelievable. Wednesday turned into Thursday…November 11. We decided to start gathering the family and letting them know it was going to happen any day. He had not eaten anything all week and his bowel movements were not as frequent as they used to be…even with the amount of water he was drinking. As friends and family started to gather at his sister’s house, John continued to get weaker. I would kneel down and whisper in his ear every time he would have a new visitor. He would open his eyes…say “hi” and drift back to sleep.
I will never forget the last thing he said before slipping into the coma-like state for the 12 hour final fight….his dad came into the room and sat in the bed next to him. I leaned into John’s ear and said, “I love you my sweet angel.” He opened his baby blues, turned to me and said, “I love you more princess.” I proceeded to tell him his dad was in the bed with him and he looked over, said “Hi dad,” and closed his eyes for them never to open again. It was from there….I laid right next to John for the remainder of his life….I did not get up. He was on his back and I was on his right side. His right hand in my left and my right hand rubbing his chest and touching his face….for his final 12 hours. My voice was in his right ear the rest of the night and into Friday morning. His breathing continued to worsen and his pain began to elevate. The nurses were on top of everything that night and morning. They made sure he was completely comfortable and when we could tell he was getting a little agitated, they continued his comfort. I did not want to leave his side. I did not want to miss his passing. I did not want to miss his possible awakening. I did not want to miss a hand squeeze. I did not want to miss anything…I just wanted to smell him, whisper in his ear, love him, be near him, continue to tell him how proud I was of him…touch him. All of it. Finally, his body had enough. I know he did not want to go…but his body was so tired. We talked many long nights and he said he was not scared…he was never angry…he never had an ounce of hate within him because of this disease…but it does not mean my devoted husband, a loving son, a sweet brother, an admirable friend, and this authentic man was ever really ready. At 6:17 Friday morning, John William Goddard took his final breath. My God…I will never forget that final moment….and I cried out. I could not help it…every emotion came pouring out of me at once. Everyone in that room could not do anything but cry with their own incredible grief. What felt like moments later, I left the room and went outside in the freezing air…I sat down on the driveway, shivering and cried. My bellowing voice that Friday morning I am sure was loud…but I could not hear anything…it was like I was deaf. I knew I was crying uncontrollably…but every sense I had was dedicated to that cry. I kept picturing John’s face and how hard he fought in those final moments. Up until his last breath…John fought his heart out. I somehow picked myself up off the ground and ran to the family…to have their arms draped around me and mine around them.
As the color drifted from his body, he slowly became colder. Everyone got their alone time with John…and between visitors, I could not seem to stay away from him. I could not keep my eyes off him…my hands…and I continued to talk to my angel and let the tears fall. The funeral home came about an hour later…took him away…and it was like saying goodbye all over again…it would not be the last time.
My incredible father, John’s amazing sister, her resilient husband and I continued the planning…just as John wished, he wanted everyone to get the chance to say goodbye. He requested a viewing and service followed by his cremation. We did it…for him…for my angel…gave everyone a chance to tell him they love him and to show support to our family as we so desperately needed it. There were several blown up photos, melodies he loved, words from his sister, a poem to his parents, words from a friend…and even his own beautiful expressions displayed in the service…it was perfect. Over 500 people came through that room on Monday, November 15 and it was completely overwhelming. The love and support from family, friends (both near and far), those I have never met, those who had never met John…all came…to fill the room with his memory and with their admiration for the man who fought for more than just his own life…but to show how important it is to love with all your might, to live life to the fullest, and to never forget who you are…no matter what.
The Wednesday following the funeral was my birthday…my 27th birthday. It was hard to smile that day…but I tried….because I know he would have wanted me to have fun…and I know he was there with me. I could not believe it was just two days after the funeral. I wanted so badly to ask for a rain check or even skip that day. To have celebrated this day with the love of my life so many years before that and then this one immediately following his service felt impossible. The rest of the week flew by with family and friends…it all seems so surreal. I sit here now in Dallas at my brother and sister-in-law’s house for a change of scenery. I will return to Florida after Thanksgiving to try and continue the life we started together there. The hardest part of my return will be setting foot into our bedroom…the room where we shared so much together.
I will continue…we all will...I will carry on with John’s love in my heart…though I long for him so much and I feel as though my world is in shambles…I will continue…because I know he wanted me to. I will….I miss him more than anything in this world…I miss him so much it hurts. To John: I love you my sweet angel…I love you more than any words, any blog, any tear, any vow can really express my devotion and immense sorrow. I cannot believe you are gone but I am so thankful you are no longer in pain…I love you baby.