Along the Broken Road

Our Last Supper

Three years ago tonight, Ralf and I shared our last meal in our home together. Spaghetti and meatballs from one of our favorite local Italian joints – Ferrari’s.

I remember it well.

I asked if he would be okay with this dish yet again – because it was a frequent craving throughout my pregnancy – and he agreed. We had it delivered and then we sat next to each other at our kitchen counter, like we so often did. Now when I look back at this moment, I specifically remember resting my head on his shoulder and releasing a sigh of enjoyment as I devoured that first meatball.

“I don’t feel so good,” he said, with a mouth full of pasta.

“What do you feel?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I just feel off,” he explained.

“Yeah, you’ve been studying way too hard. You need a break.”

The promotional exam to become a lieutenant was just one week away. We were so close. He would be through with all the studying, his stress level would drop, and I’d have my husband back. We would finally be able to fully enjoy my pregnancy together. The maternity photo shoot was scheduled. He’d be able to join in on the baby shower planning and help me complete the registry – all of which I’d been doing without him because he was so preoccupied with preparing for his test. He would be building baby furniture and we’d be putting our son’s room together.

Finally.

Just seven more days.

I went to sleep much earlier than he did because, of course, he had to hit the books. Being the extremely light sleeper that I am, I woke up when I felt him climbing into bed hours later.

“Where are you?” he said, as he reached for me to pull me close.

“I love you so much, Maeghan. You really have no idea.”

This was not part of our regular bedtime routine. Sure, he told me he loved me regularly, but this time it was different. His tone of voice was serious, as if he needed to make sure I heard those words that night. It was as if he knew it would be the last night we would share in our bed.

Seven days later, he missed the exam because he was hospitalized awaiting his biopsy.

Eleven days later, he was removed from life support after his tumor unexpectedly ruptured and crushed his brain stem.

Three years later, I love and miss him just the same.

6 comments

  1. Zuy

    MAEGHAN One thing is clear Ralph made it count that day. It is bitter because he is not physically here but so sweet because he made sure you knew he loved you so very much. God bless you always Ralph watches over you and Mason have no doubt.L I’ve never dies. Make it count

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  2. Diana

    I have been following your writing to see if I can find connections with my own experience of loss. I found it in this piece when he said to you he “felt off.” Exactly what my husband shared with me prior to his diagnosis. How life then changed forever.

    I am sorry for your loss and it’s lasting impact.

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  3. Mary

    Meghan, thanks for sharing with us. Ralph was bless to have you as his wife. He was and will always be love by you and many. Continue on loving the moments you both shared together always!

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  4. Natalie

    Maeghan,
    I have looked forward to your posts for some time now. Reading your deepest feelings and raw emotions has always brought tears to my eyes at the love you lost but I love to see the love you now have and how beautiful your little boy is and how much he looks like his daddy. I pray that you continue to have strength and being the amazing mom that you are. I have felt a connection to you because we have things in common. I went to your same high school (graduated in 2007) and my husband was a friend of Ralf’s (though they didn’t keep in touch after high school, my husband always said he was one of the smartest people he knew). I always read your posts and had so much compassion for you but could not completely relate because si had never lost someone so close to me. I know you write to help peopl going through loss and I want you to know in the past 3 weeks your words have helped me find peace in a difficult time. I was pregnant with my second baby and at 11 weeks found out there was something very wrong. I now have a little baby girl angel watching over me. I can’t wait to see her in heaven one day, but until then I know God and Mary are going to take very good care of her like they do Ralf. I can’t wait for you to see him again.
    Sending you love,
    Natalie

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