Half Asleep

July 13, 2008
By Mckenzie Hightower, Fort Worth, TX

I have been sick for so awfully long. I hurt all the time. It’s always a low constant ache. I try to keep moving, but it is just too much. My mom says I’ll get better, but I see her cry at night when she thinks I’m asleep. She is always fighting with dad. He has given up hope that I will get better. He tries to avoid my hospital room like the plague. I guess I’ve been sick so long that he just stopped loving me or at least that it how it feels. He visits occasionally, but it has been a while since he has been here. Mom says that she doesn’t love him because he will not come to the hospital. I know secretly that she still does. I notice so much more now. Mom is always talking to the doctors, but usually when she thinks I’m asleep. Once I got out of bed and crept to the door and listened. They were telling her about a new experimental treatment that could make me better. I had already done chemo, and it had not worked. Nothing worked.

There had been so many treatments. The doctors said that this was the last one and that it might work. I had run back to my bed with another feeling of dread. All these treatments always brought hope. I had even hoped despite myself, but hope soon turned to failure leaving me with less of myself then I had at the beginning. Still, life went on with more fighting, treatment, and hope. I began to write a letter to my mom and dad. I worked on it a little each day. It was like being in a world away from myself. I had only finished the first paragraph but I could never share this with them. It was too hard. It would tear them apart. Although, it let me say my last words, if you can imagine that.
One part of me just wanted everything to stop. That part of me just wanted to let go and be free. Then there was another part that clung. It clung to what it once had. The torn fragment of what was my life. I had friends once, a normal life. But once I went to the hospital, my friends slowly stopped visiting. They had to move on with their lives, while mine was stuck where it was now. I have learned over time to stay half asleep. I listened to things that were important. That’s how I learned that the treatment didn’t work. I heard my mom gasping for breath outside my room. I sneaked a look to see her sink to the floor with her hands against her eyes. She was tired, so tired of me being sick. I had a sinking feeling that she wouldn’t be tired for much longer. I had finished my letter. I had started over on my first paragraph three times. Now it was finished, and I had nothing to do. I tucked the letter under my pillow and waited.

It was a lucky day that day. My dad came to visit. It seemed like he knew. He knew that something was very wrong with his little girl. He laid his head next to mine and put his arms around me to hug. It was a big bear hug type of hug. An I love you type of hug. Then he said something to me. He almost never talked to me. It had not always been that way. When I was normal, he talked all the time but now it was rare and I cherished it.

He said that he wasn’t there for me all the time because it was hard for him to see me. I must have been ugly to him. He said that he was always thinking about me. When he would go on his long business trips, he would take out the worn tattered picture of me that he kept in his wallet and stare at it, lovingly looking at my old self. It probably reminded him of what I was like before I changed. I have changed ever so much. When he was done talking, he hugged me one last time. He was almost reluctant to go, but he had a business trip. He actually promised to see me after the trip. I now had something to look forward to. I saw my dad kiss my mom lightly on the forehead before he left. It almost felt like it was normal again. Almost.

My dad came back from his trip three days later. He went home to put his things away and went to bed. He told himself he would see me later. The next day he got up and dressed, and ate breakfast. Reluctantly, he got in his car to come to the hospital. He parked his car and walked in. The first thing that he saw was my mom sitting in the chair crying. It was a different cry though. It was different than the desperate cry of an anguished mom. He started running to my room. He got to my door and thrust it open. He looked at my empty bed and knew. He had missed his little girls last moments. He had missed everything. He walked slowly to my bed and sat down. He smoothed out my pillow and straightened my sheets. How could he have done this? He had forsaken me and he knew it. He had let me go without a fight. One of my old nurses came in and gave him a single sheet of paper. It was my letter. My dad read it through tears. He was crying for me. He had finally read my last words.
Mom and dad,

I have torn this family apart. I wish that I had not gotten sick, but I did. I got sick and I ruined our family and then I left you. I had so many things that I wanted to tell you, but instead I will say that I love you. Even if yall slowly stopped loving me, I always loved you.

To dad- dad please keep mom close. She is slipping away from you like I did.

To mom- mom I love you and please don’t cry anymore. You cry so much. It is time for you to stop. I love you both.

That is all I wrote. That is all that mattered. Before I totally left my old hospital room, I saw dad kiss mom through his tears. I saw mom stop crying. I saw all I needed to see. Now I can truly be asleep.

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This article has 1 comment.

Taylor said...
on Aug. 21 2008 at 5:19 am
That was really nice! I love it! It was very meaningful!

You are such a good author! This story also pulls you in. You just want to keep reading!

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