She played him their song from her phone — Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.” They called their children. She told Victor about the lease she had just signed the day before for a house they could grow old in together.

Eventually, Patty decided she should let him rest. Before she left, she lifted his oxygen mask and gave him a kiss.

“I love you, Mr. Edwards,” she told him.

“I love you, Mrs. Edwards, so much,” he answered.

Before she could reach the front doors of the hospital, a rapid response alarm rang out over the intercom. It was for Victor’s room. Patty raced upstairs.

Messmer heard the call, too, and rushed to the room just in time to intercept Patty. They sat together in the waiting area until Victor’s doctor appeared.

“Look, I’m going to be straight to you,” the doctor said. “He has zero healthy lung tissue left. He’s not going to come off this ventilator.”

She needed to decide if her husband would stay on life support.


At noon on Jan. 15, Patty Edwards was a bride. By 5 p.m., a widow.

“I believed if I could just give him a reason to live, he would,” Patty said later, through sobs. “I should have married him again years ago, I just didn’t.”


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