2:40 PM

We arrived at the hospital; I told my father that visiting hours must be almost over, considering how late it was. He told me that under the circumstances, they will not refuse us to see her. We walked up to the receptionist, she recognized my father immediately. He had been coming here several times a day for a week now. She handed each of us a pass. We thanked her and headed for the elevator. As we rode the elevator to the fourth floor, my father tried to prepare me for what I was about to see. The elevator chimed, the doors opened and we walked down the hallway to her room.
I could not believe that the woman lying in that bed was my mother. She was so thin and frail; her complexion was waxy and sallow. She did not resemble my mother at all. At first I thought that we walked into the wrong room. There were an array of tubes and hoses attached to every part of her body. The room was quiet and still except for the rhythmic hiss of the respirator that was feeding oxygen into her lungs. It took me a few seconds for it sink in. My father walked out to give me a moment of peace with her. I walked over to her and stroked her hair and gave her a kiss. I wanted very much for her to know that I was there, but she gave no response. I remained still for what seemed like an hour. As I stared at her, I could not help but feel sadness, anger and hopelessness. I remembered every fond moment from my earliest childhood until the last time I saw her.
After several minutes, my father walked in with a nurse. She explained to us that her condition had not changed; I asked to speak with the doctor; the nurse replied that she would page her. She then walked over to the machine checking on this and that. After she was satisfied that everything was in order she walked out of the room, leaving me and my father alone to discuss what we were going to do. Before I decided on anything, I wanted to make sure that there was no chance of her ever coming back from her coma-like state.
About five minutes had gone by when the doctor walked into the room. She introduced herself, we shook hands and I thanked her for taking good care of my mother while she was in here. She said thank you and gave me a weak smile. I wasted no time in asking the doctor if she felt that my mother’s condition would change. She assured me that the cancer had spread throughout the rest of her body, and that she would only get worse. I looked over at my father who gave a slight nod and hung his head, it was then we decided to take her off of the machines and let her go.
The doctor said ok. She then paged two nurses who came in; they asked us to leave because what they had to do (removing all the hoses and tubes) would not be a pleasant thing to witness. Me and my father went to the cafeteria and got some coffee, neither one of us uttered a sound. About fifteen minutes went by, before we went back upstairs to see her. All the tubes and hoses had been removed; she was lying on her side taking shallow rapid breaths. The nurse informed us that she was given some pain medicine that would, for the most part, keep her comfortable and relaxed. I walked over, gave her another kiss and apologized for the decision I (we) had made. I know it was the best thing for her and I hope she understood that as well.
My father and I stayed for another twenty minutes or so, by that time her breathing was not so labored, I kissed her on the head and walked out of the room. My father followed after me and then we left. The drive home was nearly silent; the only words we spoke were us trying to convince ourselves that what we had done was for her benefit. It was late when we arrived home. Neither one of us said a word my father went to bed and I lay on the couch trying to get some sleep, but no sleep came.
It was morning and I heard my father come down the stairs; he walked into the living room and saw that I was awake. He said he was going to make coffee and if I wanted anything to eat. I said no and that I was not hungry. My father poured each of us a cup of coffee and told me that we were going to the hospital.
We got there around 8 o’ clock; we went to her room and I noticed that she was still lying on the same position, her breathing was shallow but she was no longer struggling and gasping for breath; the nurse walked in and informed us that her condition had not changed. And that they were doing their best to keep her comfortable.
My father walked over and gave her a kiss. The sadness in his eyes was painful to see. I then walked over to her, gave her a kiss stroking her hair and telling her how much I loved her. I was hoping she could hear me; I wanted her to know that I was there for her and that I wanted more than anything for her not to suffer anymore.
After a half hour or so, my father asked if I was hungry yet. I said I wasn’t, but I knew I had to eat something. We went to a small diner; I had a light breakfast of eggs and toast with coffee, my father had the same. He asked me if I wanted to visit my aunt and uncle who lived not far from the diner. I said sure.
We arrived at my relative’s house, they were glad to see us. They asked how her condition was, after explaining the decision we had made, they were both in agreement that it was the right thing to do. The usual platitudes followed about no more pain and suffering and that she will go to a better place.
We returned to the hospital in the afternoon. I did my usual routine, I walked over to her, gave her a kiss, told her I loved her. I sat in the chair next to her bed. After several minutes, I noticed that her breathing had stopped; a chill ran over me, I was watching my mother die. I looked at my father and told him; “I think she is gone.” He walked over, looked down at her and let a sigh. It was a sigh of relief, the woman he had loved and shared his life with was no longer suffering or in pain. I called for the nurse to get the doctor. The doctor came into the room and began to check her for a pulse, there was none, it was then that the doctor told me that my mother had died. She asked me if I had by any chance noticed the time, strangely I did. It was at 2:40 PM.


About Robert Elbertson

Welcome to my page. I'm a middle aged man, who smokes too much and drinks too much. I like to pretend that I'm a writer. I'm certain, that as you read my posts, that you will find that I am not. No matter. Feel free to read, comment, give feedback, good or bad, serious critiquing will be appreciated. The only way I can get better, is to receive feedback on what I write. I really don't care if you feel the need to be harsh. I deal with assholes on a daily basis. But, if the criticism is intended to help me get better, then I am all for it. I am looking forward to this new venture. Thank you for your time. View all posts by Robert Elbertson

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