First 30 Days Blog

05 dec


I didn’t really understand at the time what early meant. The companion words, either: Brief, short, finite. I knew them in a King’s English sort of way. But I didn’t UNDERSTAND them. I didn’t connect with them. Until a wet day in February, 1997, they were just tools in a toolbox, used when appropriate.

Five years prior I heard the words, and they should have registered. But in the midst of mid-20s confusion and arrogance I somehow discounted them. Or maybe denied is the better word to use.

Even in the hours leading up to her death, I didn’t really acknowledge the weight of those words in my vocabulary. For when you’re sitting next to your last living parent in a hospital room, listening to the sound of air moving in and out of lungs working much too hard, you distract yourself with more practical things. Has someone been over to feed the dog? Does work know that I’m not going to be there tomorrow? Is my car going to get towed? Is my sister-in-law getting enough sleep? When did the doctor say they’d be back? 10pm? What time is it? How’s bro doing? When was her IV changed last? Did we just have a shift change?

As the hours grew late and things became quiet on the floor, I thought about running home to get some things, take a break. She was sleeping peacefully. I could come back in the morning. My girlfriend said no, you need to stay. She said she’d go pick up my things and come back. And she did.

I paced the dark hallway outside of the room, listening to her breathing cadence, counting the tiles. I remember this drill from five years ago, when the man of the house was in this same hospital, in a similar situation. But five years ago the woman of the house was with me, and that made all the difference.

The moments ticked down without me knowing, until the cadence changed. I went into the room and things happened slowly, and quite quickly. There were nurses, doctors, noise, confusion. My girlfriend was there. And at some point in it all a timeline ended.

I found myself out in the hallway, alone with my girlfriend as tubes were removed and alarms silenced. It was 11pm. And it was early.

Shared by davidharpe.

Posted by First 30 Days on December 5th, 2008 in Personal Stories | 1 comments

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One Comment

  • So true. So sad. Even when you know someone is sick you’re never ready to see them pass. My dad was diagnosed with cancer and was gone nine months later. As sick as he was I think we always hoped there was a chance he’d pull through. When he died it left a huge void in the family that I’m afraid will never be filled. I know my mother is not and will never be the same. After 51 years with the same man, it’s like losing a piece of yourself.

    Shared by VictoriaB.

    — Added by First30Days on August 28th, 2009

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