Except in our own minds....
|The chill made her reach for a blanket that wasn’t there. Feeling disoriented, and thinking it might warm her if she got up and moved around, she sat up and tried to swing her legs over the side to stand, only to find that she couldn’t. “Odd“, she thought, and would have questioned the sensation further if a warm cover, removing the reason she had wanted to get up in the first place, hadn’t suddenly been laid over her. The soothing heat permeated her shivering skin, and kept her mind from dwelling long enough on her inability to rise to allow it to yet be a concern. |
“Comfortable now my love?”, she turned at the sound of that adored voice, to see Greg standing over her. She smiled in total delight at the unexpected sight of him; at the sound of a voice which always thrilled her, and had been too long unheard.
“Oh Greg”, was all she could manage to say as he took her hand in his strong, warm ones, and held it between them with gentleness and love. His eyes said all that needed to be said, and before she could question how he had come to be there, her attention was suddenly drawn by the only thing that could have possibly broken her connection with Greg in that moment - the appearance in the room of Charlotte. Still dazzling in her beauty and carriage, her glistening golden hair hung in lustrous sheets down her neck, her stride into their presence strong and confident as always. She filled the room, as only she could, and wordlessly she too spoke of her love.
“I don’t understand” she tried to say, but before the words could be spoken a giggle was heard from the corner, and she was thrilled to see her two children skip over and tug at her blanket, the sound of “Mommy, Mommy” ringing joyously in her ears as it had so many times before. At the sight of them, she once more tried to sit up, longing to acknowledge through gentle hugs the love she felt for this gathering of those that meant so much to her. But again, she found herself unable to move, only this time she wasn’t distracted from the realization. As she began to be afraid, Greg continued to gently hold her hand, Charlotte gazed at her with the same acceptance and love that had always been there, and the children of course smiled in their sheer delight at being in Mommy’s presence. She wanted to get up and acknowledge them; so why couldn’t she?
“We can’t put this off any longer Dr. Thomas. Her blood pressure has dropped dangerously low. I’m not even sure it isn’t too late already.” Dr. Thomas frantically signaled for the transfusion, but it was becoming sadly apparent that perhaps he had indeed made a literally fatal judgment call in holding off.
“I’m sorry Doctor. We’ve lost her” The words echoed in the cold, sterile room, where life had both been given - and taken away. The nurse took the baby into the next room, knowing that the Grandparents would need the comfort of it in their arms; their daughter having now been taken from them. She remembered the Doctor saying how the father and two younger children had tragically died in an auto accident only a few months before. Apparently the young couple had raised and shown cutting horses, and he and the children had gone ahead with the trailer and horse they were going to show in a regional meet, only to have a tragic encounter on the way with a drunk driver. The pregnant wife had been left to face life on her own.
The crying parents of the lost woman were indeed comforted by the new life she laid gently in waiting arms, and she went back in to begin cleaning up in the now deserted delivery room, sighing at the sadness her job all too often subjected her to.
The body lay covered by the requisite bag, waiting to be removed to the morgue. She reached down to pick up what oddly looked like a very long blond hair, and found herself feeling suddenly dizzy. She reached over and grabbed the side of the table to steady herself, closing her eyes momentarily to regain her balance and composure.
She never told anyone about the sight she saw when she re-opened her eyes. It was too real to have not been seen, and yet too impossible for anyone who hadn’t seen it to believe. Standing by the door was the woman who had just died, with a sturdy looking man and two young children on one side……
And a dazzling Palomino horse on the other.