When she walked into the hospital room, she saw him there. He was lying motionless. It couldn’t be him she thought, it couldn’t be her little brother. He was surrounded by family, but she asked for privacy. All she wanted was time alone with him, time to say goodbye.
She stood at his bedside and held his hand. He felt warm to the touch. She knew he was only there in a physical form, his soul had already gone. She looked at him. Despite his condition, he still appeared strong and full of life. She could see him as he’d always been. She could see beyond the bite block that was in his mouth due to his ongoing seizures. She could see beyond the ET tube and the PICC line in his neck. She could see beyond the suction tubing and the catheter. She could see beyond it all.
When she looked at him, she could see him in every memory they’d ever shared since childhood. She pushed back the cool washcloth that was placed on his head to aid his fever. She placed her hand on the left side on his face and kissed his forehead. She wept.
Two days later, his wife made the final decision. The machines were turned off. Soon, his breathing became shallow, slow, and quiet. When she could no longer see the rise and fall of his chest, she knew he was gone. Again, she wept.