“My [sister] has died. And I don’t think I can go on.”
I once read these words in a letter from a grieving friend. They popped into my mind as I sat in the hospital waiting room. My family had gone but I remained to nurse an irrational fear that my baby sister was still in that room because she was always accusing someone of leaving her somewhere for dead. As we entered the sixth hour after the flatline, “You take as long as you need, sweetheart,” turned into hushed whispers at the nurse’s station and stolen glances to make sure a security officer was nearby.
I pulled the blanket up around her shoulders and warmed her hands in my own, keenly aware that this would be the last time I would touch her. I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I literally could not will myself to leave that place. Not until I heard her say, “Can you get a blanket for me before you go?” just as she did on countless other visits. Time stood still while hours passed. My uncle arrived at the hospital and said in his heavily accented English, “It’s ok. You can go home. She’s not in there anymore.”
And with that, I finally understood how futile it all was because my little Noodle had left. The grief came in a sudden tsunami right in that moment. I stood still and felt myself violently tossed in the waves of sadness. Wave after wave crashed into me and forced me to hold my breath. I was completely powerless to change the course of this storm. I was helpless against it…so I let go. First unable to cry then unable to stop. I quit fighting it and let myself be pulled down to a still, dark place beneath the storm where I could silence the deafening quiet in my head and quite possibly, maybe breathe again.
And I closed my eyes.
Sit tight…there’s more.