As the end grows near, Jim Duguay clutches his bride and whispers in her ear.
Three weeks have passed since Trisha Duguay’s feeding tube was removed. In a hospice room, Jim and Trisha share a narrow hospital bed.
He tells her he loves her. He tells her it’s OK for her to go to heaven.
Doctors say that could happen any day now. Trisha’s body temperature has dropped, her blood pressure has fallen, her breathing has slowed considerably.
Still, Jim says, she sometimes wiggles her toes and her eyelashes flutter.
“Sometimes she glows in the bed and it almost looks like she’s going to smile,” he says. “Other times, she looks like she’s not feeling well.”
Last Sunday, the AJC featured Jim and Trisha's story, chronicling the Norcross couple's romance and love as well as the unimaginable tragedy that emerged on their wedding day.
Just hours after walking down the aisle May 15, Trisha, 27, was admitted to the hospital. Within 48 hours, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She underwent surgery on May 25 and never emerged from a coma.
A large number of readers responded to the Duguays’ story. Many wanted to get in touch with Jim to offer their prayers, thoughts or other help; many others inquired about Trisha’s fate.
As a result, Jim has created a special Facebook page to give those who wish to contact them a place to post comments. It can be found on Facebook.com under the heading: From Bride to Angel — Trisha Rushing Duguay.
For people seeking to make a donation in Trisha's name, Jim and Trisha's family have asked people to donate to the Atlanta-based Brain Tumor Foundation for Children (online at www.braintumorkids.org).
Jim says he was moved by the outpouring of well wishers, including those who told him the story inspired them to be better spouses. “It gives me reason to smile,” he says.
On Thursday, Dr. Carisa Hines, a hospice doctor, said Trisha’s death was imminent. That she has survived so long without the feeding tube is not surprising, Hines said, given Trisha’s youth and otherwise healthy state.
For Jim, 38, the past week has been a mix of tender and heartbreaking moments.
He and family members have held “picture parties,” encouraging loved ones to bring in and share photographs and memories of Trisha over the years. Jim, as well as friends and family members, now wear pink rubber wristbands that read: “Trisha — Bride to Angel.”
Jim had continued a ritual he began years ago, regularly bringing Trisha fresh flowers. But these days he doesn’t dare leave her side, and the last bouquet of pink daisies has begun to wilt.
Editor's Note: The AJC will follow the couple's story to its conclusion.
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