I was unhappily married. I had stayed in the relationship because of my child. I knew that there would come a day when I would leave. I was a carpenter by trade at that time. I was on a job at a doctors house, and decided to take my lunch. I heard a voice come from behind me,"So you going to eat lunch all by yourself?" I turned to see a woman sitting on the ledge by the porch. She was like a maid for the doctor. We talked for a while and I found out that Sheila lived with her cousin in a house that I was facinated by. She invited me to stop by some day and she would show me around. Some time later I was driving by. I decided to stop. Sheila and I walked around and talked for hours. I explained that I didn't want to go home. She already knew how my marraige was by now. Sheila told me to just stay. Thats exactly what I did. The next morning I went home, walked in the house and told my wife I was leaving her. Sheila and I were together for three years, She had long blonde hair down to her butt. She was into crafts and jewelry. We were made for each other. I loved her more than I had ever loved another woman. We decided to move at one point. Upon moving, Sheila decided to get a family physician. The doctor ordered a mamogram. Sheila was 48 at the time. She told me two days later she was diagnosed with Class 4 breast cancer and only had about 3 months to live. My heart stopped. Literally I believe my heart stopped at that moment. I sat down and it took about 15 minutes before I was able to speak. The first month was not to bad. We were inseperatable. We laughed and loved, we took short trips. We took pictures. Then she began to slow down. She began getting sluggish, and not wanting to do anything. She began to lose a little hair. This was devestating. She had grown her hair for probably 18 years to get it that length. It was silky natural blonde. Everywhere we went she would get compliments and stares. I took her to a beauty parlor but had to wait outside. I couldn't watch this happen. She returned with a handful of braids. Maybe about 12 of them, they were about 2 1/2 feet long. I had shed more tears in the last month than I had my entire life. I can't explain the pain you feel. Just everyday things, you come into the room and just look over like you always do. You see the love of your life dying in her eyes. You have moments where you sit, paralyzed, your heart so sluggish you cant even feel a beat. You sit in silence and watch your partner decay. You put on your plastic smile everyday and try to stay upbeat. You try to be funny and get a smile now and then. But you know she sees right through your sympathy and sees you being destroyed. Sheila began to show sores on the side of her neck. She had nodes removed from her armpits and masses from her breast. About six months had gone by of this everyday torture. I was numb. I knew I could lose her everyday I walked into the door. It was just threading me along wondering if I was going to be able to talk to her, wondering if she would hear my words, wondering if I would even see her eyes open. She began to get bed sores on her back. I had hospice workers coming over to help take care of her. She was on morphine injections. Every day she was less and less coherent. I came in one day and she was just staring at me. A blank look, like she didn't even recognize me. I tried saying some thing to make her laugh, I tried bringing up memories, I tried telling her I was going to leave if she didn't give me a sign. I did everything I could think of just to get a wince, or a blink, or a finger to move, nothing. She had a series of strokes from one of the medications. The bedsores on her back were now so large now, as I rolled her over to pack them, I would be able to make a fist and fit it into the hole. I could see several vertibrae in her spine. I could see half of her shoulder blades exposed. On a good day she was able to give me a small smile and pucker her lips so I could give her a kiss. That was a rare treat that day by day I never knew if I'd ever see again. It was down to the "any day now" time. It was everything she could do to tell me she loved me just by looking at me. Her eyes were weak and helpless. Her body was a sack of bones. Every feature of her face was sunk into her skull. Her skin lay there loosely as I would lean over to give her a kiss on the cheek hoping just maybe she would feel it. I would look into those lost eyes just hoping she even knew I was there. She mustered up just enough strength to lightly move her fingers as to clench my hand, turned and looked me in the eye and took her last breath. She gasped once or twice and she was gone forever. I put my hand gently across her eyes and closed them. I had to leave the house as the coroner came to pick up the body. To the woman who was the part of me that I could not be, every breath I take today, holds a whisper of love for you.