Toronto: These heartbreaking pictures show a couple holding hands as they said their final goodbye to each other in intensive care.
Jim Minnini, 58, was in hospital with terminal lung cancer on May 4 when he made a desperate plea to see his wife, Cindy, one more time. Cindy – who was recovering from a heart attack she suffered after Jim was hospitalized – was in the next room after doctors transferred her to Kingston General Hospital, in Ontario, so she could be with her dying husband. She was sedated and unconscious when her partner of 24 years was taken into her room, and she did not know he had been with her until after she woke up – but by then her husband had died.
The touching photographs of the couple holding hands were shared by their son, Chris, who said his father was not prepared to die without saying goodbye to the love of his life. Chris, 21, told that his parents were perfect for each other, and were ‘inseparable’ from day one. He said his father was over the moon when, back in 1994, he found out Cindy was pregnant. ‘He started crying, he was so happy. It was the best day of his life. That’s all he had ever wanted,’ he said.
They lived a happy life together until eight years ago, when Jim was diagnosed with lung cancer. He fought it off twice before being told in 2012 that he had just a 10 per cent chance of survival. After around 75 chemotherapy and radiation therapy sessions, he was admitted to hospital in Kingston in late April and placed in intensive care. The next day, Cindy had a heart attack and was rushed to a hospital in Brockville, Ontario. ‘For about four or five days, we were going back and forth [between the two hospitals],’ Chris said.
After his father’s condition worsened and it became clear his time was running out, doctors arranged a transfer for Cindy and moved her to the same intensive care ward. Doctors woke Jim up so his two sons could tell him that Cindy was in the next room. ‘When my dad found out that he was going, he was stiff faced and shook his head. But when he found out that my mom was in the next room in the ICU, he started bawling,’ Chris said.
Unable to speak, Jim scrawled the word ‘mom’ on a piece of paper. He was wheeled in and out several times but could only stay for a matter of minutes before his condition worsened and he had to return to his bed. The night before he died, the father-of-two had a nightmare and pulled his tubes out of his throat. Doctors were unable to re-intubate him, so they brought him through to see Cindy one last time.
She was sedated and sleeping peacefully, unaware that Jim was holding her hand. Chris took the photographs so his mother would know she was with her husband when he died. ‘After that picture was taken, he held her,’ Chris said. ‘He was there as long as he could be physically, until his body started to shut down and they needed to take him back.’ Jim died a few hours later, on May 4.
As soon as Cindy woke up, she asked where Jim was, but knew he had died, Chris told. Cindy is back at home recovering now, and her son said seeing the pictures of her and Jim together in his final moments has helped her find her peace. Chris also thanked the hospital staff for getting his parents together in his father’s final moments. ‘He would have just kept hanging on. He wouldn’t have left if he hadn’t been able to say goodbye to her,’ he said.