Friday, July 13, 2012

For Granted

Her memories drifted while she watched him sleep.   Memories of curling into his lap, her head on his chest, watching reruns on Nick at Nite.  The pride she felt when her friends swooned over his deep-set eyes and 5 o’clock shadow.  Her college graduation, as he shed tears and said, “Your mother would be so happy.”

It was only three days ago that the words ‘palliative,’ ‘hospice,’ and ‘comfort measures only,’ had threatened to crumble her foundation.

“Do you have help?” Doctors asked. 

“… umm…. No…. it’s just me.  I’m a nurse.  … I…I… I’ll be fine.   My dad…. He just needs to be home…. just home…. “  It was the patois of the brokenhearted, heard only in the presence of those tasked with delivering such news as, “It seems your father has taken a turn for the worse.”

A turn for the worse.  Though, it had been a long time coming.  She dressed his wounds when surgery failed him.  She held his straw steady when drugs meant to cure failed him.  She knelt beside him when God failed him.  And when doctors failed him, she brought him home, to the only one he knew. 

Day before yesterday, she bathed him with a warm washcloth and told him the story of the time she ditched school in the 10th grade.  He smiled, and finished the story with his own memory of assuring the principal it would not happen again. 

Yesterday, she slipped her ear phones into his ears so that he could listen to Jefferson Airplane while sailing on the wind of his morphine drip. 

Today, she watched as the shadow of death, reeking and uninvited, scattered and floated away.  His chest rose in one final moment.  And then, all was still.  No tearful goodbye. No last words.  Just stillness. 

She moved to sit beside him.  Lowered her head to his chest.  And laid his hand on her belly. 

Whispering a gentle goodbye, the tears came. 

The life inside her fluttered. 
"Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days." ~ Benjamin Franklin 
We want you to tell us a story about a guest, invited or otherwise, who begins to smell, metaphorically or otherwise, after three days.



  1. The perfect expression of love and appreciation at the perfect moment. This is emotional but in a non maudlin way.

    Your writing is tight and tremendous

    1. Maudlin- I think I just had a wordgasm.

  2. wow.. very emotional, the writing is so awesome though.

  3. Excellent telling of a sad tale.

  4. You are such a good writer. It's not often that words can make me cry this early in the morning. So glad I found your blog! Beautiful and evocative writing.

  5. "...the patois of the brokenhearted..." My favorite string.

  6. I had to look up "maudlin". Now I have a wonderful new word to my vocab.

    This made me wish I'd been there for when my dad passed, I was doing a mad-dash driving 50 hours trying to get there in time... Stories about girls and their daddies will always get to me. Nice one! You're amazing.

  7. This is beautifully written, emotionally charged and packed but not sentimental in the wrong way. :)

  8. Powerful snapshot. It's so hard to capture a moment, and this was great!

  9. Thanks so much for linking up with Trifecta this weekend. Please remember to come back and vote for your top three posts!

  10. Beautiful portrayal of a single moment in which life and death are both experienced.

  11. I was reading on my phone that weekend, and the damned machine wouldn't let me comment. I absolutely loved the picture of this woman and her grief. When I first read it, I didn't realize he was her Dad until "Your Mother would have been so proud", and then I had to go through that first paragraph again with new eyes. That was a perfect way to present the character without saying 'her father'. The ending was poignant and ideal. May his soul have passed to her womb.