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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/284005-Love-Unfeigned
Rated: E · Non-fiction · Death · #284005
Her heart ached as she tried to decide at what time she would pull the plug.
Sometimes I just like to write about things that I have seen or heard about that piqued my interest!
Recently my husband had to go to the hospital for chest pains. I stayed there with him until I knew everything was going to be alright, which was close to forty-eight hours. During this time span I couldn't believe the different people that I came in contact with in that short time.
We didn't get to the hospital until about 10:30 p.m. I must say I knew the night was going to be a long one......
I am a smoker, so I had to go to the 4th floor and go outside to smoke. This is where I met and listened to some of the saddest, strangest, funniest stories I have ever heard. We were on the 10th floor and at about 2 o'clock in the morning I went downstairs to smoke. That is when I met Mary. She was sitting over in the corner with a blanket wrapped around her, she couldn't have weighed more than 95 pounds,and with her knees drawn up to her chest and her chin resting softly on her knees. I sat down in front of her and as I started to light my cigarette I noticed as she put her cigarette to her mouth that she seemed to be in deep thought. Her eyes stared a thousand miles away. I spoke first, "mentioning how cold it was getting and how the weather report had said to expect snow that night". As she replied it started a flow of conversation back and forth that I suppose we both needed to release.
She told me why she was there, "waiting for her father to die". He had been on life support machines and the doctors came in that morning saying that they were going to have to make a decision as to who was going to pull the plug. She said, "I stepped outside the room and prayed to God that I wouldn't have to make that decision." Loving her father the way she did, how would she ever be able to stop his life by pulling a plug?
This is when her mind traveled back to a time that only she would remember. She told me that her mother and father had been divorced for 45 years. He had moved to South Carolina, so she only got to visit him on weekends. She said her mother would make a special plate of food for them to carry to him every time they went. She said that her mother's love for him had never died nor had his love for her. They had a special bond even though their lives were on seperate paths.
He was a smoker, and had been quit for four years. He was diagnosed with emphysema, a chronic lung disease, which had taken a long toll on his life and that of his family.
As we both sat there time sort of stood still. The memories were stirred as we drifted back in time. "You could see the emotion well up in her eyes as she thought about her daddy and the years they spent together". "Her hand trembled as she tried to light another cigarette". "Her voice cracked" and "you could feel the pain in her heart like something alive" when she tried to describe the love she had in her heart for her daddy. She talked about her two sons and the strength and courage her daddy gave her in raising them as a single parent. Mary told me her son John is 22 years old and has been in prison since he was 17. He and his girlfriend were fooling around with a gun when it accidently went off shooting his girlfriend. She died later at the hospital, "leaving him to be charged with first-degree murder". They had a little girl who is now five. Mary said "I take her to see her daddy every Sunday". She told how her heart broke knowing how senseless and tragic the reason was that this "child's mother had to die". Mary said that John had gotten saved since he was in prison and "she thanks God for that".
Joey was Mary's other son. He was 19 years old and very close to his Grandpa. She told me how earlier that day Joey had come to the hospital and as he stood beside the bed he couldn't control the tears. "Her dad seemed surprised", "Joey was not one to show emotions". She said her dad looked at Joey and said "it's going to be alright". Joey smiled and said, "I know grandpa, I know," then he turned and walked out of the room.
It seemed to take a lot from her, yet you could feel her "anxiousness" to talk about this. So I let her know that I had nothing but time that night. I was much better at listening than talking. I shared a small part of my life with her. We both seemed to have a lot in common, to have lived so far apart. Mary talked another hour or so, I was not aware that this was her waiting time. She was waiting for her father to take his last breath,I don't think she knew this either. She told me something that night that "really broke my heart", and "I will never forget it". She told me that her mother had been bed ridden for a couple of years. She said her mother had not spoken in the last year.She said her dad asked if she would bring her mother to see him on Friday, just two days ago. So she went to her mother, and though time had separated them for over forty years, "the intensity of her love for him was just as true now as it was then". As she struggled to stand, "her frail legs trembled", her hands shook "not in weakness but in strength" as "she reached to touch the one she loved so dearly". Moments in time like these are "as a strand of pearls neatly joined together". Mary said you could see these moments of recollection come together, "as their eyes focused on one another". She was not only reaching across a span of a room, she was also reaching across many years of separation, "love unfeigned spans not only time but eternity"! "The longing of yesterday was so evident as they stood in today, where they both knew there would be no tomorrow for them". Mary said she turned toward her dad as he said "take her home now, for I am going on alone". "As their clasped hands parted their fingers lingered", the look in their eyes told that "this parting was but for a short time". For they knew that they would soon be joined in eternity, "for death is not the closing of one door", but "the opening of another".
As Mary and I smoked our last cigarette my heart went out to her as the doctor came out and told her that "her daddy had just pulled his own plug".
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