He hated the word, and for 10-years he had refused to say it.
He said it softly to himself and leaned back against the large stack of pillows that sat on the hospital bed next to the window. The word felt strange in his mouth. It hung in his throat and when he spoke it spit from his lips in an inaudible cloud of hot air.
He wiped a tear that had fallen from his eye and shook his head as he tried to smile. There was a camera sitting on a small plastic table next to a stack of note cards at the side of the bed. He thumbed threw the cards one by one and thought long and hard about the big black words he had written.
“Thank You,” “Family,” “Love,” “Struggle,” “Fight,” “Quit,” “Goodbye.”
He closed his eyes and read the words of his unwritten speech on the back of his eyelids.
“We got some really bad news last week,” he thought. “And there’s nothing we can do. The fight’s over. It’s time to say goodbye.”
He opened his eyes. The room was blurry. A woman walked in the bedroom door and he quickly wiped the tears away with the sleeve that covered his sickly wrist.
“Hi,” she said softly. “How you doing?”
He sat up straight and gently patted the empty spot on the mattress next to him. She sat down and put her hand on his emaciated thigh.
“Are you done?” he said.
“Haven’t even started,” he said. “I just can’t manage… to admit it.”
She lowered her head onto his shoulder and looked down at the stack of cards in his hand. The word “Hope” was staring back at her. She traced the word with her finger and started to cry.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m not ready to admit it either.”
He stroked the black curls of her hair and stared into the black lens of the camera that sat on the table.
The woman stood up and abruptly and wiped her nose with the top of her shirt.
“No,” she said. “You know what. We’re not admitting anything. See. We’re not admitting defeat. We’re not. We’re not admitting it. It’s, we have an opportunity. Don’t you see? That not many people have. You get to say goodbye. You get to tell everyone that you loved them. You get to say goodbye.”
She smiled as tears ran down the sides of her cheek and the man nodded in agreement even though he wasn’t sure if what she said was true.
“Ok,” she said. “Well, you come down stairs when you’re done and I’ll cook you dinner. Ok?
She kissed him on his sweaty forehead and walked silently across the soft carpet to the door. He took in a deep breath, then reached over to the camera that sat on the plastic table at the side of the bed, and switched it on.
“Ok,” he said. “Oh boy. Here we go. Hey everybody. It’s Eric, and this is my final confession. I’m going to say ‘goodbye’ for the very last time. I love you all. Thank you all.”
A 28-year-old-man who has relapsed from cancer seven times recorded a poignant goodbye video in which he thanks his friends, family and doctors, saying he “fought to the end.” – NY Daily News