Tuesday, May 14, 2013

THE ROCK: Chapter 7

Painted Pink

Once Malcolm's cancer had spread to his lungs and been given a death sentence, I packed up my belongings in Boston and moved back to Texas to be with family.  


I remember driving the boys back home.  It was on the BQE, crossing the East River, that I considered it for the first time.  Malcolm was coughing incessantly and I was inconsolable.  A flick of the wrist, the steering wheel turns, and it would all be over.  

I had never considered suicide as an option for life's travails before, it seemed so counter productive, but I couldn't imagine a life without Malcolm either.  


But I could no more give up on him as he never did me.  


I came up with a saying to get us through the hard days when Malcolm could barely make it out the door for our daily constitutional. "We don't give up.  We don't give in.  Until the end, my friend."  

Every day I uttered those words to Malcolm, in part for him, in part for me.  


When you bear witness to a loved one dying before your eyes, it crystallizes your constitution.  Malcolm went down hard and I went down hard with him.  


January 11, 2006

It wasn't the bone cancer that took him down.  Not directly anyway.  It was hypertrophic osteopathy.  Malcolm was in congestive heart failure because his lung tumor had grown so large that it forced fluid in his hind legs rendering them useless.   

I had made the conscious decision the day before to take Malcolm off his pain meds to better assess his condition.  In poker, it's called forcing a hand. 

When Malcolm could barely even walk, my hand was forced, the decision predetermined.  No one should have to make the call to kill our kids.  Even in an act of kindness.  It's not the correct order of things.  

But on this day, I took Malcolm to Dr. Gosney's clinic and held him as he died in my arms.  

After his lifeless body slumped, I couldn't help but wonder why the substance in the syringe that took his life was colored pink.  And who was the person that chose that color?  


Anonymous said...

How painful that must have been then & now. To decide, to hold your son, to watch him go, to witness. To put that time into words.

What a tremendous son Malcolm must have been. What a tremendous dad to care so deeply in a way that few of us do.

I don't know what that is like; any of it, but I feel the pain through every emotion put into words by a dad who loved his son.

Anonymous said...

This brought to mind when we had to make that same decision, for our girl Gretchen. It was the hardest choice we've ever had to make. And certainly, the saddest day of my family's lives.