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You Can Let Go: A Scotty McCreery Fan Fiction Story
She stared through the glass windowpane with tear-filled eyes. Her disbelieving heart struggled to make sense of what was going on; her mind screamed that there had to be some mistake. The young man lying in the hospital bed on the other side of the glass was not her son; he couldn't be. Sure, he was the spitting image of him, but there was no way that they were actually the same person. That boy was so weak and fragile; he appeared so lifeless. He was not the strong, energetic boy that she had given birth to and raised for the past seventeen years. He couldn't be that boy.
However, as much as she wanted for it all to be a mistake or a horrible nightmare, she knew that it was reality. That young man lying in that hospital bed on the other side of that glass was her son. His strength and energy had been cruelly ripped away from him by the merciless hands of fate and the carelessness of a drunken stranger. He still had his life, but he was jsut barely hanging onto it. And she had an increasingly sinking feeling that it was only getting farther away from him.
"Judy?" she heard the soft voice speak her name and turned her head toward the doorway of the room. Dr. Lehman, who had just been inside examining Scotty, was standing there with a sympathetic expression on her face. "How are you holding up?" she asked, coming closer and placing her hand on Judy's shoulder.
Judy didn't respond for a moment, just continued to gaze through the glass at Scotty's motionless form lying in the hospital bed. Finally, she turned her eyes to the doctor and cleared her throat before speaking softly. "How is he holding up?"
The doctor sighed and gave Judy's shoulder a gentle squeeze, the sympathetic expression on her face deepening. "I'm not going to sugar-coat anything," she said softly. "I know how hard this is going to be for you to hear, but I also know that it'll end up hurting you even worse if I hold back the truth." She paused for a moment, gazing at Scotty before turning her eyes back to Judy. "I think it would be best for you to call in his family and friends to say good-bye."
Judy looked from Scotty to the doctor and back before bursting into tears. Her knees buckled beneath her, and she fell to the floor, burying his face in her hands as she sobbed uncontrollably. "Are...are you being serious right now?" she choked out after a few moments.
"I really wish I wasn't," Dr. Lehman responded, kneeling down next to her and placing her hand on her shoulder. "But unfortunately...I am. His vital signs have deteriorated; it's honestly a miracle that he's still hanging on." She paused before sighing heavily. "And in most cases like this, the only reason that the victim is still hanging on is because they're waiting for their loved ones to tell them that it's okay for them to let go."
Judy didn't say anything for a moment, just raised her gaze to meet the doctor's eyes. "Can you go out into the waiting room and tell everyone?" she asked quietly. "I...I can't handle doing it. And I'm fine with letting all of them go in first, too. I just...I need some time to try and process this."
"That's completely understandable," Dr. Lehman replied. "And of course I will." She was quiet for a moment before she leaned in and embraced Judy, who placed her head on her shoulder as she continued to cry. "I'm really sorry, Judy," she told her. "I can only imagine how hard this must be for you."
"It is," Judy sniffled in response. "Honestly, it's the hardest thing I've ever been through." She paused for a moment, raising her head and wiping at her eyes with another sniffle. "But I guess the bright side of all this is that he's on his way to a better place."
"He most certainly is," Dr. Lehman answered, hugging Judy once more. "I know it might sound crazy since he's not my son and I don't actually really know him, but...ever since Scotty first hit the spotlight on 'American Idol,' I have been really proud of him. He's such a wonderful role model; I can tell that Christ is really evident in his life and that he's an exceptional young man. And I hope that my own two sons grow up to be exactly like him."
Judy pulled back from the embrace slightly and managed a smile through her tears. "Thank you," she said, sniffling yet again. "Thank you so much. That really means a lot. And you've been so wonderful throughout all of this."
"That's what I'm here for," Dr. Lehman smiled, getting to her feet and helping Judy get up as well. "And I intend to continue to help you and your loved ones in any way I can--no matter how all of this turns out." She gave Judy one more hug before continuing to speak. "I'll go get everyone."
She headed off down the hallway toward the waiting room, and Judy turned her attention back to the window. Through a veil of fresh tears, she stared at the boy lying in the hospital bed, still working to completely convince herself that that was her son. In addition, she was also trying to stomach the fact that she was about to have to give him permission to let go of his life.
After a few moments, Dr. Lehman returned with the crowd that had been out in the waiting room--Scotty's father, Michael; his sister, Ashley; his grandparents, and his best friends. "I think it would be best for me to close the curtain before the first person takes their turn in the room," she suggested quietly. "That way, everyone can say their good-byes to him privately, and it will be much more intimate and will hopefully make you feel at least a little bit better."
Everyone nodded their agreement, and Dr. Lehman quickly went into the room to pull the curtain. "Does anyone want to volunteer to go in first?" she asked upon returning to the hallway. Everyone tried to convince Judy that she should be the first one to go in, but she declined, saying that wanted to be the last. Then, it was decided that Scotty's father would be the first to go in, followed by Ashley, his grandparents, and his friends.
As one person after another emerged from the room in tears, Judy felt her heart sinking lower and lower in her chest. She knew that it was getting closer to her turn in the room, and she was absolutely dreading it. She felt like a horrible mother for feeling that way, but at the same time, she didn't know what else to feel. What she had said to Dr. Lehman earlier was most definitely no lie. This really was the hardest thing that she had ever had to endure.
Eventually, the last person had been in to say their good-byes to Scotty. Judy started sobbing uncontrollably all over again as she realized that there was no turning back now. She was about to have to say the words that she had never imagined herself ever having to say to her son.
"Oh, my God," she breathed out, leaning against the wall and sinking to the floor, burying her face in her hands as she started crying even harder. "I can't do this! I can't do this! I seriously can't!" As they, too, continued to cry, everyone gathered around her in a big group hug.
"Judy," Dr. Lehman breathed, sitting down next to her and wrapping her arms around her shoulders once everyone had moved back enough for her to get through. "I don't know exactly how you're feeling right now, because I've never actually been through it myself. But I can imagine how I would be feeling if I were in your shoes. This must absolutely be tearing you apart."
"This can't be happening," Judy wept, her body shaking as she cried. "Scotty can't be dying. He's only seventeen years old. He's just a baby."
"I know it's a lot to take in," Dr. Lehman told her soothingly. She was quiet for a moment before she sighed. "And I'm not trying to make this any harder for you than it already is." She sighed once more before continuing, trying to make her voice sound as gentle as possible. "But honey...Scotty is suffering. His condition is deteriorating, and it's not going to get better. Everyone else has told him good-bye; you're the only one who hasn't been in to see him yet."
She paused for a moment longer, gently lifting Judy's chin so that their eyes met. "Scotty's body and mind are giving up. But his heart...his heart is still holding on. And the only reason for that is that you haven't talked to him. He's only holding on for you, Judy. He's worried about you. He needs to know that it's okay for him to let go." She paused once more, her own eyes filling with tears as she gazed at the face of the sobbing woman in front of her. "Can you do that for him?"
Judy didn't respond at first, just sat there trying to pull herself together. She knew in her heart that the doctor was right; that Scotty really was suffering and that he was waiting for her to tell him that it was okay for him to let go. And it didn't really surprise her that he was waiting for her like that. Even though she was his mother, he had always looked out for her just as much as she had looked out for him.
She didn't want to give him permission to let go of his life; to take away one of the most important things that she had. But in her heart, she knew that it was what she had to do. After all, as she had told Dr. Lehman earlier, Scotty was going to be in a better place once everything was all said and done. Losing him would hurt, but she would see him again when her own time came. She still didn't want to let him go, but she couldn't let him suffer anymore. He needed her to release him.
"Okay," she said quietly, slowly getting back onto her feet. "It's still not something that I want to do...but I know that I have to do it. If it's going to help Scotty, that's all that matters." After receiving hugs and whispered words of condolences and encouragement from the crowd, Judy drew in a deep breath and opened the door to her son's room.
Her eyes filled up with tears all over again as she slowly made her way across the room and sat down on the edge of his bed. It broke her heart to see him this way--all pale and barely breathing; the heart monitor that he was attached to beeping much more slowly than it should have been. As the tears began to slip down her cheeks, she took his hand in hers and gave it a gentle kiss, tenderly rubbing it with her thumb as she drew in a deep breath to speak.
"Hi, sweetie," she began softly, her voice thick with tears. "This is Mommy." She paused for a moment, searching for the right words to say. It was funny how she had never had any trouble at all finding the right words to say to Scotty before. But then again, she had never had to say anything quite like this to him, either. Dear Lord, please give me strength, she silently prayed.
"I just want you to know that I am so proud of you," she said finally. "You've fought so hard through all of this, and you've beaten a lot of odds. They were surprised to find out that you were still alive when they arrived at the scene of the accident. Then, they expected you to die in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. And they definitely weren't expecting you to hold on this long."
She managed a slight smile through her tears, feeling a sense of pride within her heart. "But you did it. You've been strong through everything." Still stroking Scotty's hand, she paused for a moment, her eyes brimming with tears all over again and her chin trembling as she continued speaking. "But sweetheart...I know you're tired. I know that it's getting harder and harder for you to hang on."
She hesitated, gulping back sobs and saying another silent prayer for the strength that she so desperately needed. "That's why it's okay if you can't do it anymore," she whispered, running her free hand through his hair. "You don't have to worry. I love you with all of my heart, and you're one of the most important things in the world to me. It's going to hurt me when you leave, but I'll be okay. And everyone else will be okay, too. We'll all help each other get through this." Her heart was breaking as she continued speaking, but at the same time, she knew that this was for the best. "You can let go, Scotty," she told him softly, giving his hand another squeeze as she continued stroking his hair. "You can be at peace."
As soon as those words left her mouth, Judy felt a slight pressure on her hand. Her eyes filled up with fresh tears as she realized that Scotty could hear her and was squeezing her hand. "It's okay, honey," she encouraged, placing a gentle kiss on his forehead. "Jesus is calling you Home. Don't be afraid to go with Him."
Scotty responded with what sounded to Judy like a sigh of relief. He squeezed her hand once more, and the slow beeping of his heart monitor gave way to one continuous beep as a straight line appeared on the screen. As Scotty's grip on her hand loosened, Judy placed one more kiss on his forehead and smoothed his hair back one more time. "I love you, baby boy," she whispered. "Rest in peace."