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Her Last Moments

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July 27, 2033

Today was the day you were diagnosed. Bone cancer was what the doctor said. You cried and I held you, nodding to everything the doctor said, almost like a robot. He told me to take you to the hospital immediately. When he said we could leave, I shook his hand and led you out. We got in the minivan. You grabbed my hand.

“James I’m scared,” you said with bloodshot eyes and tear stained cheeks. Seeing you like this completely shattered my heart.

“I’m scared too Lindsay,” I said, squeezing your hand. “But we’ll make it through. I promise.” We drove in silence to the hospital. They got you checked into a room quickly. The room was completely white and smelled like chemicals. It was a reflection of what I was feeling on the inside. Empty. You asked me if I would go get you clothes and books from home. I said yes, kissing your forehead and leaving the hospital. I drove home in a daze, surprised I actually made it there. When I got home, I went straight to our bedroom, which you had decorated. The walls were blue, green and brown. There was a large armchair in the corner and shelves full of your books.

“Dad, can I go to the mall?” Chelsea came into our room, phone in hand. I turned to her. Looking at her was like looking at you. Your dirty blonde hair and perfect green eyes. “Dad?”

“Huh?” I asked.

“Mall, can I go?” she asked impatiently.

“No sweetie. I need you to watch Christopher,” I replied, going to the closet to get a suitcase. She followed me.

“But I’ve been watching him all day,” she said, noticing the suitcase. “What are you doing? Where’s mom?”

I randomly started to shove clothes into the case, knowing the sooner I got it packed the sooner I could get back to you. “Hospital,” I mumbled.

“Hospital?!?” Chelsea exclaimed nervously. “Why? What’s wrong?” I had finished with your clothes and toiletries and moved to your nightstand, grabbing a pile of books I knew for a fact you hadn’t read. Throwing them in the suitcase, I zipped it shut and started for the door.

“I’ll have to explain later,” I said. “I need to get back to her. For now, you stay here with Christopher and try not to worry. I’ll be back for you later.” I kissed her on the forehead and started for the garage.

“Dad!” she called and I turned around. She was a picture of worry, eyes wide and hands over her stomach. “She’s sick isn’t she? Like really sick.”

I sighed. I wasn’t going to be able to avoid this question. “Yes, she is,” I choked out. “And I’m nervous as heck about it. But we have to stay strong. For her. And for Christopher.” Chelsea just nodded slowly and I kissed her forehead again, pulling her in for a tight hug, and then made my way back to you.
August 1, 2033

The kids came to visit you for the first time today. When they came into the room, you should’ve seen the way your face lit up. It was the happiest I’d seen you in five days. They came up to your bedside and you hugged them each tightly. Seven year old Christopher jumped right into bed with you, snuggling into your side. You laughed lightly. Chelsea just perched herself at the foot of your bed. I pulled over a chair and sat next to the bed.

“How are you today?” I asked you nervously.

“I’m doing a lot better since you all came through that door,” she smiled.

“Mommy?” Christopher asked, looking up at you.

“Yes pumpkin?” you replied, brushing a lock of his light brown hair out of his face.

“Are you going to die?” The whole room fell silent. I opened my mouth to lie. To tell him everything would be alright and that you wouldn’t die. But you answered first.

“I don’t know sweetie,” you said. “I really don’t know.”
September 22, 2033

It had been almost two months since your diagnosis. You’re condition had only worsened. But every day, you kept up your happy nature. I don’t know how you did it. You always said that God had a plan for you. That He would take care of everything. After you said that, I’d taken up praying for you every single day. The doctors said it was good for you to stay positive. 10% of patients that remained positive throughout their illness had better survival rates. It wasn’t much, but just the sliver of hope I needed.
October 31, 2033

Halloween was today. Christopher insisted that he wear the costume to the hospital to show you. He was Superman. He ‘flew’ around the room and you clapped enthusiastically. When you asked Chelsea where her costume was, she replied that she was, ‘too old for childish costumes.’ You laughed at her and said that you had dressed up until the year you turned 25. She simply rolled her eyes. Then I had taken them home for Christopher to Trick-or-Treat. Despite your happy façade, you had grown much paler and were losing weight rapidly.
November 15, 2033

Today Kellie, Kendall, Summer, Logan, Geena and Carlos had come to visit you. They walked through the door and the atmosphere brightened immediately. You’re smile got bigger and your eyes got wider. They each greeted you with a big hug. They said they were glad you were doing better. You were. Maybe the positive thing really did work. They all took seats around you and you talked for hours. They made you laugh harder than you have in months. I smiled from where I was standing in the corner of the room. It made me so happy to see you like this. It gave me hope that eventually, life would get better.
December 25, 2033

The doctor let you come home for Christmas. They said you were well enough. We had a wonderful time, our house full of family and friends. The cancer was so costly, the kids only got a few presents each. But they didn’t mind. The real gift was having you home with us. Chelsea had gotten a pair of boots she’s been wanting and a couple new books. Christopher had gotten the Lego sets he wanted. I got you a necklace with a cancer ribbon, inscribed One day at a time. You had gotten us all pendants inscribed: What Cancer Cannot Do: Invade the soul, suppress memories, kill friendship, destroy peace, conquer spirit, shatter hope, cripple love, corrode faith, steal eternal life, silence courage. Later that night, when the kids were asleep, we were cuddling next to the fire and listening to music.

“I’ve really missed being home,” you said. “And having a normal life.”

“I miss you being here,” I whispered in her ear. The song My Heart Will Go On came on our stereo. I smiled. We danced to this at our wedding. “Do you want to dance?” You smiled and nodded. I pulled you off of the couch and wrapped my arms around you. You reached up to wrap your arms around my neck. This was the first time in a while I’d gotten a good look at you. You were regaining color in your face and were gaining back some of the weight you had lost. And you were at home, on Christmas, slow dancing with me. Today I’d felt more hope than I’d felt in months.
January 2, 2034

We brought you back to the hospital on December 27. December 29 you went into remission. The doctors said you were getting to be good as new. They were surprised at how fast you’d bounced back. You were home for New Year’s and we did sparklers in the backyard. I made you bundle up in jackets, so you wouldn’t get cold. You smiled the whole night and when the clock struck midnight, kissed me with more passion than you have since you got diagnosed. Christopher giggled and covered his eyes and Chelsea made a face, but I could tell she was very happy. Life was finally getting back to normal.
February 23, 2034

You had a relapse today. As quick as life got back on track, it crumbled to pieces all around us. You hadn’t been doing well for a week, and refused every time I suggested taking you to the hospital. Then, one day, I walked into the bathroom. You were puking up blood. I held your hair back until you were finished, and then loaded you into the minivan, laying across the seats with a bucket, just in case. I drove as fast as I could to the hospital, not caring that I was over the speed limit. When we arrived, I picked you up; your body weak and fragile in my arms. I ran to the fourth floor and demanded you see a doctor immediately. They checked you into an available room. The doctor was there in a matter of minutes. My heart shattered once again.
March 30, 2034

Bone. Marrow. Transplant. Those are possibly the three worst words I could hear right now. You needed a donor. Of course, I was the first to offer. The doctors ran a few tests, but I wasn’t a correct match. All of our friends were next to offer and as it turns out, Carlos was your match. The next day you both went under anesthetic and were taken to the surgery room. Geena and I paced nervously outside of the door. You both came out fine, but Carlos was required to stay overnight. They just pulled another bed into your room, figuring you might like the company. I volunteered to babysit Alex and Genevieve that night so that Geena could stay at the hospital with you and Carlos. She did so eagerly. That night I left with a warm feeling inside of me. I was better off knowing you had two of your best friends at the hospital with you.
April 16, 2034

You’re condition is worsening. You are much paler than you were ever before and you’re dropping off the weight you gained back. The bone marrow transplant didn’t work as well as the doctors had hoped. Yet, you remain cheerful. It never ceases to amaze me. You rarely eat, and when you do, you just throw it back up. You’re hooked up to so many machines. For medicine, food, water, etc. It’s terrible. Every single night I cry myself to sleep, thinking about you.
May 24, 2034

You have a rapidly growing fever. It’s dangerously high. You started chemo therapy two weeks ago. You’re beautiful dirty blonde hair is nearly gone. You mostly sleep. I stay while you do, just watching you. Today, I was sitting in a chair, holding your hand and stroking it with my thumb, humming your favorite songs.

“James?” you whispered, and I jumped up, thinking you were asleep.

“What do you need baby?” I asked, brushing a little strand of what was left of your hair away from your eyes. “Anything.”

“James,” you whispered, looking up at me, your emerald eyes filling with tears. “Do you still think I’m pretty?”

I looked down at the woman I loved, wondering why you would ask such a stupid question. “Of course. Lindsay, you’re always beautiful.” You smiled at me weakly, tears spilling out of your eyes.

“James,” you said. “Do you think I’m going to die?”

“Lindsay,” I said seriously, my own eyes filling with tears and my voice cracking. “Don’t say that. Ever. This will all turn out ok.”

“James, you didn’t answer my question,” you said.

“No,” I said. “You’re not going to die. You’re going to get better and be the Lindsay everyone knows and loves.” You smiled back up at me.

“Thank you,” you said. “That’s what I needed to hear. Even if it’s not the truth.”

“It will be,” I said, determinedly, tears spilling out of my eyes. You reached up, wiping them away with a shaky hand. Then you fell asleep. I lay next to you on the hospital bed, listening carefully to every beat of your heart and thanking God every time another came.
June 26, 2034

You went into remission again! The chemo had really helped and you had a session every month now. You were allowed to come home! When the doctor had told me this, I had started crying out of joy. I went straight to your room, kissing you passionately and picking you up. You were confused for a minute, but then the doctor came in, smiling. You squealed and kissed me again, throwing your arms around my neck. I took you out to the car, setting you carefully in the front seat. I held your hand the whole way home. When we arrived at the house, Christopher and Chelsea were waiting in the front yard. They both hugged you tightly. You began to cry out of pure joy. You went into the house, and were surprised by the huge banner, reading: Welcome home Lindsay, and all of the balloons and streamers. All of our friends waited eagerly to hug you. We had an amazing time.
December 30, 2034

Over the next few months, you were doing fantastic. I took you in once a month for chemo, and held back your hair while you threw up. Every month we went home and had great results. The doctor had even given the okay for a family vacation. Everything was back to normal. Well as close as we could get to normal. At least, up until that dreadful December.
February 16, 2035

Your funeral was today. We buried you in the town cemetery. All of our friends got the chance to speak. So did Christopher and Chelsea. I did as well, but when I got to the microphone, nothing would come out of my mouth. I felt like a piece of me was buried with you. Kellie and Kendall took Christopher and Chelsea with them. I sat alone in the snow, looking at your headstone. Lindsay Taylor Maslow. December 10, 1995-February 13, 2035. If love could keep you alive, you would’ve lived forever. I broke down into sobs. I sat there and cried until I was out of tears. And then after that. The wind whipped through my hair and I swear I could smell your perfume.
February 13, 2050

Today was the 25th anniversary of your death. I was standing in the small graveyard with a bouquet of roses. They were always your favorite. I sat down by your grave and laid them down gently. It was a dark day. The way I felt. The past year has been pretty crazy. Chelsea had gotten married. I walked her down the aisle and she looked beautiful in her white gown. Almost as beautiful as you. Christopher had been accepted to three colleges on a baseball scholarship. I sat next to your headstone for hours. The wind whipped my hair and I swear I could smell your perfume. A little piece of sun peeked out from behind the clouds. I looked up, and just knew that you were smiling down at me from Heaven.





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fictionlover_o6 said...
Sept. 27, 2010 at 6:02 am
This  is soo sad but I totally love everything about this. You're amazing!
 
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