I walk slowly down the sterile walls turning and twisting with each step I take. The entrance now seems so far away as I edge closer and closer to your room. I pass one nurse's station and then another. I turn the corner and I can hear the doctors in your room along with the beeps and other sounds from all the machines keeping you company.
They called me earlier today. They said you were not going to get better even if we did place a feeding tube down your throat. I remembered what Mom told me, that you did not want a feeding tube if it was not going to help you. You did not want to be kept alive that way. As I spoke slowly and carefully to the doctor, I was glad to have this knowledge though it did not lessen the pain in any way. I had to tell them that we were going to let you slip away and request that they make it as pain-free as possible. Those words were barely able to slip past my tongue. I felt my throat tighten as I said them.
The next phone call I had to make was to Mom, your daughter. I had to tell her that you would be passing soon but that she had time to make it home. That part broke my heart more than having to say goodbye to you. For I know that you have lived a very long life and I am so happy that we have spent the last few years getting to know each other better. Our Sunday ritual of having breakfast is now done. I will never again spend three hours eating omelets with you. This part I can accept.
So I called Mom and I told her the news. She was calm and yet so upset. She said she would be home shortly. She said to tell you that she loved you and so here I am tonight telling you how much we all love you and that soon you will be with your wife, my Grandmother.
I sit here quietly in your dark room with the nurse's aid. I'm stroking your hand and you grasp my finger so tightly. You tell me that you want to escape. I know. Soon you will be able to escape to the next level, the next place. I can only wish that you find peace there.
You look so small as you lie on the bed. Fragility comes with death. One who was once tall and strong can be defeated by it. I know that but it is hard to see it in someone you love.
We sit quietly for a few hours before I must sadly go. I kiss you goodbye on the forehead and remind you that we all love you so much. I also remind you that Mom will be home soon and that you must wait for her. You promise me that you will.
I walk back down those twisty hallways toward the hospital exit. My heart is heavy and I feel tears slipping down my face. I do not move to wipe them away. Instead I silently offer up a prayer for your peace and then I head home to wait for Mom.