A glimpse of Death

December 29, 2008
By Kaylee Mullen, Woodbury, MN

Thursday, December 11, 2008

glimpse of death

Six o' clock in the morning the fever has worsened

throughout the night. Tossing and turning in his sleep,

sweat pouring over his body. The thermometer last night

had read 103. His mother had been trying desperately to

get the fever to go down. The wet wash cloth she had put

on his forehead now lay on his pillow. His temperature hit 104 everything was overheating, his body started to shut down. By seven his lips had turned blue and the

temperature finally dropped.

His mother woke up feeling an eerie silence pressing

against her eardrums. The house was never this quiet, she felt something was wrong and woke her husband lying beside her. Groggily he got up and she led him into the living room. The children were still asleep. Once in the living room they unzipped the curtain to the bed. They looked down in silent horror there was no steady rise and fall of his chest, no movement at all and he had gone blue. Desperately his mom ran to get more cold water hoping he had just fainted because of the high fever. His step dad started chest compression. Everything was hectic; his mom came back and applied the cold compress before grabbing the phone and dialing 9-1-1.

The other children woke up to the frantic commotion in

the living room. All of them except the oldest to young to

comprehend what was going on. Wordlessly they were

ushered into the kitchen, all at once the questions came,

the oldest trying her best to explain it when she barely

understood it herself. Soon there was confusion

ambulances arrived paramedics were shouting orders to

one another and the situation dawned on the children and they began to cry. The paramedics started chest

compression but when that seems to have no affect they

tried using a dephibrilator his limp body jolted as the

shock ran through him, they tried twice more but to no

avail. Then quietly they told the parents and they began to cry along with their children. There was a dream like

quality to all of this none of it seemed real and no one was quite willing to believe what had just happened. In silence the paramedics zipped his body into a body bag and carried him out to the ambulance and from there he would go to the morgue.

Thinking about what had just happened everything was

hazed. All that anyone could do was stand there dazed

everything seemed to be happening with dreamlike

slowness. The mother called the schools trying her best to explain what had just happened. She found herself lost for words feeling as if saying it out loud would finalize any chance they had at realizing that this was just a bad

dream. Everyone sat quietly in the living room stealing

quick glances at the spot on the floor where the

paramedics had placed their brother in a dark bag like he

was nothing more than clothes for a vacation. The eldest

suddenly felt hatred toward the men that had so suddenly burst into their home.

Thought began to circle in her mind like vultures above its prey. What if he was still alive and he woke up to find

himself in that wretched bag? Why is this happening? But the main question burning inside of her was what is going to happen next? She couldn't help but let the tears fall down her face. She didn't want to be sad she tried to think this was all for the better she tried to smile but she found that both of these were beyond her grasps at the moment.

The mother stood in the kitchen on the phone calling up

everyone she could think of and making arrangements.

They could hear her voice crack when she told relatives

about what just happened. There was a fake cheerfulness in her voice when they told her it was all for the better because he was no longer suffering. The children felt lost, when they looked to their mother they found none she was broken and dejected by this whole ordeal and it frightened them. Their dad tried his best to console them but it wasn't the same as if it had come from their mother. Soon the calls had been made and the family sat in silence trying to decide what happens next.

Life went on, but in the same unreal blur as if this all really was a dream. Each of them was hoping to wake up warm in bed and find that nothing was wrong and everything was back to normal. Weeks later came the funeral; the church was cold and empty. The family sat in a quiet room waiting for people to arrive, waiting for them to say how sorry they were and how everything would be all right. No one wanted to sit still but that was all that they could do.

Finally people started showing up not just relatives but

doctors and nurses from his hospital stays, therapists that seemed to be more of a comfort than anything else and many others. Each person gave each of the family

members a hug trying to be cheerful and comforting all at once. Then they walked past the open casket paying their respects and sat down. Now the children were supposed to go up to their brother the younger ones more willing to go. The oldest child was finally persuaded handing her littlest sister to her mother and walked up to the front of the room with one of her aunts. There she was shocked the thing in the casket had only a mild resemblance to her brother, the make up on has eyes and lips was heavy you could see the cold blue of his skin beneath it. She wanted to turn and leave but her legs wouldn't let her.

Time passed, people talked about what influence her

brother had had on their lives. There were pictures of him up on a screen slowly fading from one to the next showing him smiling his silly grin. Just in his smile alone you could see how he wanted to make the most out of his life as possible, disease or not. As soon as the pictures came up songs started playing, songs about letting someone you love go because it's the best thing for them and how you'll miss them but you know they'll be better of where they are going. The pictures stopped but the music played on. People started leaving to go to the cemetery.

The cemetery was warm and bright but that warmth didn't radiate into anyone standing alongside that dark hole dug in the ground. Everyone was feeling cold and sorrowful. The casket, now closed, was lowered into the ground now everything was final and reality was finally coming back. There was still an emptiness around the house and there always would be but everyone now they had a sense of peace about it and everything was at rest.

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