She died like many people die these days – a tiny shell on a hospital bed in a converted room on the first floor of the house they shared for thirty years. She wasted away slowly over two years – from that first dark spot on the x-ray, through the treatments, the difficult discussions, somber preparations and finally, the talks about who she wanted to speak at the funeral and what flowers she wanted.
He’d always loved the way her eyes sparkled with mischief. As she got older, the laugh lines only made them shine brighter. He knew the end was near when the spark faded and she stopped smiling. She tried so hard to maintain appearances – was so brave in the face of the inevitable end.
When she finally faded away, he poured what was left of himself into his work. He had a small futon put in his office and spent many nights there, because it was easier than facing an empty house and the memories. The equations, documentation and experiments kept his mind off his grief. That was all he could hope for.