Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Heroes (03/08/04)
TITLE: Helping Benny to Die
By Lynne Cox
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Thelma was tired. She got to lie down for a little while when the hospice people came, but that was all. She spent most of every day and night caring for Benny. One night he was up all night with a terrible cough that went on for hours. He sounded like he was choking up his lungs. They clung together in the bed, afraid the time had finally come. They said their goodbyes. But the time was not yet.
Towards the end, the pain made Benny nasty. One time when she dropped his water glass and it broke, he accused her of being dumber that Dilbert, their dog. Another time he told her that he wished he had had an affair, that he was sure the Lord would have forgiven him for it. That brought Thelma down on her knees, head in hands, weeping with the pain of it.
Still, she loved. She fluffed his pillow and prayed with him as he begged God to take him home. She combed his few strands of hair. She read the sports scores to him. She brushed his teeth when he complained of a rotten taste in his mouth. She cut his thick curved toenails.
But she was finding it harder and harder to walk any distance. Stairs made her gasp. Leaning over to pick something up off the floor in Bennyís bedroom made her dizzy. She had to sit down a lot.
Thankfully, Benny didnít notice, and one night he was lying with his arms hung over the sides of the bed, when suddenly he coughed and jerked them up to his chest and was gone.