No one slept very well that night. It was hard to, given the acrid stench of anxiety hanging in the air while little gnomes came in and out to quietly replace pieces of our hearts with stones.
It was a Tuesday. And I recall thinking about how ordinary it was. I remember considering the fact that what was happening to us happens everywhere, every day and to everyone. I remember telling myself that it’s a vital part of the course of life.
And I remember thinking how none of my coaxing made it any easier to stuff into my heart. Because the thing about death is; it never matters that the time has come. There is no right time to lose someone you love.
But who could stop the angel of death?
We couldn’t. We just stood around him, watching the heart monitor like it was G-d, speaking to him like he could hear. I think we were talking to ourselves. Consoling ourselves. Reminding ourselves of the completion and virtue his life held. We spoke to our own fears, when we spoke about the years gone by. Memories too big to fit in the spaces between words. Those, we kept silent. Left them in our hearts, so we’d have something to keep us warm when he was gone.
I kept my fingers by my pulsing neck much of the time. I think it was my subconscious way of reminding myself of life’s evanescence. To stop taking my beating heart for granted. Because as of 8 something that night, his no longer was. And who was I to throw mine all away?
“He’s gone…,” I whispered, when it finally happened.
“He passed away…
“He isn’t here.”
I thought that maybe if I said it out loud it might register. But it never did.
Each word I muttered ate a little at my heart as I walked up and down the hospital parking lot, my legs like jelly beneath me. And then with my skull lodged in my heart and a profound guilt belted in my passenger seat, I jammed my foot on the accelerator and drove into the night. The knife driving deeper and deeper into my conscience. But the facts still standing like a chicken on the diving board, refusing to sink in.