I remember sleeping on the floor under chairs in the waiting room because there was no room to stretch out on the chairs. I remember how my father looked against the blinding white sheets, how the sun looked coming in through his windows, but I cant remember how long we were there. Time had lost its meaning and my world had slipped asunder.
My father fell into a coma and none of us could do anything to save him. It was the beginning of the end. Days passed and I just wanted something to happen..anything; anything other then this endless waiting. This sea of grief with up swells of hope and down swells of despair. I was mired in it and just wanted out.
I know one day I looked at my mother and said, "I wish this was all over". My words looked like a hand print on the redness that filled her face. Shame threatened to drown me and I tried to swallow back the selfish thought. But words can be like actions, once slipped from the lips, they are beyond redemption, beyond reach, and I have to live with them shadowing my thoughts.
At the time it didn't feel selfish, I was just tired of trying to stay afloat, tired of crying tears that did nothing but fall, tired of trying to be a grown up when I was still just a kid that didn't understand anything of what was going on. Sick of body, sick of heart, so drained of tears that when he was gone, none would fall.
I think a lot about what I said to my mother that day. I wonder if I really meant it the way she took it, that I didn't care the outcome of this hospital stay, just as long as it was over. I don't think so. I think I was so bone weary of everything and everyone talking around me. Tired of not really understanding what was happening, tired of the smell of antiseptic and the squeak of shoes on floor. Tired of the sound of alarms and hushed voices, tired of seeing someone so large and looming in my life look small and helpless...looking already gone from us. I lost my security the day my father passed and I haven't really felt safe since.
Those words sit heavily on my shoulders when I think of my mother as well. They mock me as I recall letting her go.
It has been over 90 days and seven surgeries we had endured at the hospital with mom. The last night, I think both my sister and I knew, was a death watch. It was only a matter of time, I know this now, denied it then.
I lay with my son in the waiting room, an eery echo of the past. Changing shifts with my sister in the early dawn.
I watched her monitors beep and spit out information. It is amazing how much you learn about medicine and machines when the next intake of breath of a loved one relies upon them.
I watched her heart spike and I knew. I knew if we left her as is, that I would be watching her have cardiac arrest. I questioned the nurse and she only confirmed what I felt in my bones and I couldn't do it. I couldn't put her through anything else.
I went to my sister and told her how I felt. I told her it was time to let her go, and it was. To this day, the decision still feels like it was all mine and the weight of that decision I will carry until I join my mother. I know my sister would say it was our decision, but in the end, it was my voice, my words, my responsibility.
In the dark of night, when there is just me and these thoughts in my head, I think of the those words I said to my mother so long ago and I wonder if she knew. If she knew I let her go because I loved her too much to put her through any more pain, or if she thinks about what I said when dad was dying, that I just wanted it to be over.
I'm a recovering single mother trying desperately to see humor in my day to day toil while simultaneously avoiding reality as much as humanly possible.