The swollen fingers were cool and lifeless, gently as I could I slipped my hand in an gave a little squeeze. Earlier in the morning I had gotten three or four good squeezes back, as I talked her through the ultrasound of her heart, now as massaged them their was only a softness without response. My nephew held her other hand. I can’t say what made me look up. There must have been a sound, but it seemed distant, perhaps in the hall. I only know I looked and there was the flat green line and the number zero.
I tried to shout but my mouth was suddenly too dry. I turned to the others, I knew I was supposed to yell “code” or “code blue” that was what I was trained to do, but this was my family. So instead I said “heart rate zero.”
My shout came out little louder than a whisper, they looked at me confused. I repeated it louder, but then the nurse was there. The nurse’s face, can I describe it? Serious as a heart attack and mournful as if . . . as if it was her own mother in that bed. We moved away from the bed to give them room but that was not enough. “Get out,” she shouted.
We obeyed and made our way out the door. There I paused, turned and looking directly at the pale face on the pillow, said “Good-bye Mom.”
Not too stubborn to forgive . . .
As “code blue” came over the intercom and a line of doctors and nurse rushed in, the tears started, and I allowed myself to cry. I hugged my nephew and was surprised to feel him hug back. I can’t be stubborn anymore. I know she wanted all of us to make peace with each other. That would have been her last wish had she regained consciousness. I know it. I have to try again to find that middle place between protecting my children (and myself) and renewing relations with my siblings and their families. Wish me luck!
I had been taking time off from my blog to type up my mother’s memoirs (and garden.) At best I am only a third of the way through the former. She died on the first of August and left me the guardian of a few journals, some old letters, boxes of photos and piles of desk calenders. My mother hated to throw such thing away and would hate to have me toss them without a glance now. All my instincts tell me, this is my path, to finish what I started, to share her story, the best way I can. How will I live, pay the bills and take care of my family? I don’t know. Wish me luck, again!
. . . just too stubborn to quit.