The Final Hours

I sit in the room with a blank stare to match the walls. Disinfectants and hand sanitizers have become a permanent veil. Deep groans proceed from her mouth. The needle sticks for IVs are unending. Her pallor is pale, her eyes empty, clinging desperately to the life of the past. Before illness, before chemo and radiation, before confinement to a hospital bed. Before the beginning of the end.

Nurses shuffle in and out every hour, checking heart rate, blood pressure, upping the morphine dosage. The groans combine with pleas for water, for my dad to come, for her pain to finally diciest. I don’t know how I feel. My mom, previously the picture health, will be gone in a few short days. I refuse to let her see me cry, She is the one in true pain. I put my selfish thoughts to rest and focus on Mom.

I never go home anymore. Someone has to be here. Dad can’t take seeing her suffer.

“She is the greatest woman I have ever known! She doesn’t deserve this! Why has God torn our family apart?! How are we supposed to live without her?” His screams forever resonate with me.

These-one sided conversations have become a daily ritual. He calls my cell phone, as if complaining about the situation will change the outcome. I know better.

“Christopher….please….come….here.” My mom manages to utter the phrase weakly from her white sheet prison.

I rush quickly to her side, forgetting the endless negativity in my head. “Mom? Mom? What is it? Should I buzz the nurse?” My eyes widen in fear.

She struggles to form the words. “No. It’s….It’s….time. Please….tell your father….tell him…I will always…love him. I love you both. My life…..has been…….adventure because of you. I….love…you. Her last breath escaped as her eyes shuttered closed. Finally at peace. Finally free.

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