Valediction

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Kendra stared into Timothy’s eyes, a strange sense of peace filling her being. If it wasn’t for the heart monitor’s long ominous tone piercing through the air and the frantic hubbub of medical personnel calling out various terms Kendra didn’t recognize loudly to one another, she could have almost believed that this was any other day. She could have asked a question and stood unsurprised as Tim turned to mumble a one or two-word answer in reply. But this was not any other day, it was today. It was the day Timothy Blake’s tired heart finally decided to give up its futile attempt at life, offering up its last beat and quieting to a stop that even the most accomplished doctors in the world could not postpone.
No tears stung in Kendra’s eyes and she hated herself for it. She knew they would come eventually, but she wished she could cry now. The odd sense of tranquility that hung around her like a fog was unnerving. She felt dirty; her own callousness disgusted her. She should be full of grief right now, struggling to stand as tears flowed in an uncontrollable stream from her eyes, grabbing a hold of one of the nurses in desperate, broken anger, her voice catching in her throat as she begged them to bring Tim back to her, not standing here motionless and peaceful, or worse – relieved

The doctors had given up by now and one by one they left the room to attend to someone else. Kendra left as well, turning just in time to see the local pastor pulling Tim’s eyelids down over unseeing blue eyes. Those eyes had been so very full of life once, long ago, but that light had left them even before Tim entered the hospital. That had to one of the worst ways to die; to have the life leave you long before your body decided to give out, to trudge on through life in sort of half-death, your spirit gone but your organs refusing to fail.

As Kendra stood in the door of the hospital room, only feet away from the corpse of her closest friend, she realized that this was not goodbye. Goodbye had been watching helplessly as piece by piece the love of her life was torn from her grip. Goodbye had been plastering on a smile and forcing herself to make polite conversation, knowing all the while that all the effort in the world couldn’t bring her Timothy back. Goodbye was the countless days and nights she had spent sitting next to an empty shell hooked up to various medical machines — a living, breathing, painful reminder of what once was but never would be again. No, this was not goodbye. It was freedom.





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