Breathing for the last time on earth as family and friends watch
|Charles lay there, not moving a muscle. His body twitched, jerked, and acted on its own. The machines that were providing him with life support, breathing for him, feeding him, slowing down the pain, and keeping him as comfortable as modern medicine knows how, just droned on and on and on.
Everyone, there was waiting, watching, and wondering what to say to one another. Some were even talking with Charles, making their peace. Many were thinking the most horrific thoughts of all, "Why couldn't this be me?" Or, "Is this going to be me one day?" They watched. They talked. They prayed.
Charles' room was the most depressing place on earth. All hope had gone. Charles was dying. His body had shut down, and the only reason that there was some semblance of life was those noisy machines that just would not -- could not stop until someone turned them off. No one dared to do that, not even the doctors until they had signed consent forms, and daughter Tracy was having no part of that, at least not right now. Maybe tomorrow, if tomorrow ever decided to come.
Family members were there. Friends were there, but Charles was no longer there. The essence of him was no longer present in the room. Going into the hospital might have provided him with some hope, but now there was none. Charles' lifeless body just lay there twitching, jerking and acting on its own.
Death had already come into the room and taken Charles' soul, and his spirit had moved on to a higher calling, but those being left behind were not ready to let his body go. Some cried softly. Others told a few stories about how they had grown up in South Florida. While still others just sat silently praying or thinking or wishing everyone else would just stop talking.
It was hard being in that room knowing that tomorrow, the decision would be made, and even Charles' body would not be long for this earth. Those consent forms that the doctor had handed to Charles' wife had to be signed and returned. The doctor said that there was nothing else that they could do except trying to make sure that he was not feeling any pain. In medical terms, Charles had already died. The signed papers would allow them to pronounce him dead, and turn off the machines.
Life support. That is what they call those machines that keep on pumping, regulating heartbeat and blood pressure, and giving the appearance that the person is still with us. Life support, a mechanism that makes sure that you keep on breathing even after you are gone from the body, and even the spirit has taken flight.
Miracles have been prayed for by most everyone. Fasting and praying for just a few more days, weeks, months regardless of the pain and suffering that Charles has already endured, and may continue to suffer should he suddenly come back to his cancer ridden body. We are not selfish. We just love him and are not ready for him to go on his final adventure.
Now that the doctor has said there is no hope, and the papers need to be signed, each in their way has started anticipating what it will be like when they turn off the life support machines. Will he suffer? Will he know that everyone has given up on him? What happens when Charles takes in the last breath of oxygen that is being forced on him? What if he opens his eyes or maybe even speaks? Are we acting too hastily? Lord, please take this decision out of our hands! The life support machines keep on pumping, and Charles' body keeps on twitching, jerking and acting like it is alive.
A small reprieve, his daughter has decided that the life supports will not be turned off today. Everyone sighs a sigh of relief as they prepare to wait another 24 hours just in case Charles may take his last breath!
Today, July 20, 2015, my brother, Charles Williams, did not wait around for anyone to decide when his last breath would be. Round 2:00 pm, he took in one deep breath and exhaled. He had drawn and exhaled that last breath!
Travel well my brother. Travel well.