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So Long Lives This and This Gives Life to Thee
The beeping of your life support machine woke me from slumber, startled me back to reality. There you lay- opaque skin showing ocean blue veins, shallow breathing reminding me that every draw of breath is closer to your last. The rainbow of tubes feeding into your body make you seem more dream than reality, and the shadowy mask of nonchalant silence you wear makes you near impossible to understand.
Is should be me waiting to be judged by God and you keeping watch as my guardian angel, but life gave us the opposite. Cancer is picky; it chooses those who we love the most and leaves the ones without love to mourn the passing of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, husbands, wives, children. Billy Joel was right when he said only the good die young. Why else would we still be here waiting for judgment?
Yet, you were dead a long time ago; when you passed out in your apartment and awoke three days later in intensive care to find you were terminal, when you switched hospitals and therapy in a desperate attempt to find a cure, when they took your hair, when they broke your spirit. The hope you once had for a better tomorrow is nearly gone, I see that now, now that I have looked into the face of death and embraced it by embracing you. Would you have done the same for me? Of course, at least I hope so.
You would hate this room they keep you in. Whitewashed walls that strive to paint over death, no window to see for perhaps the last time a sunrise or to let in a soft and sweet smelling summer breeze. Maybe you don’t want to wake up, knowing that if you do you are sentenced to this bed, much as a murderer is sentenced to the chair. It is your prison, but perhaps I could make it a bit more colorful.
So I asked the nurses for permission to paint the walls. They quickly declined my request. Lucky for you I had my paints already in my canvas bag, and now if you wake you will see a mural of surreal fiction- of dreams in color, of oceans and mountains, of rivers and meadows, of man and woman, of life and love. Remember we used to paint together? Can you see our pictures burned through your eyelids? Our music ringing through your ears? Our touch still tingling your fingertips? Our last kiss that was fated to be our goodbye?
There was a time you promised love, until death do us part. I release you from your promise, in hopes that when you meet God there will also be an angel who can ease your pain and carry your load, so you do not walk through heaven alone. The beeping of your machine passively continues, and I gaze at your face in hopes that you will display some sign of life. The elevator music wafting through the hallway wouldn’t suit you; it certainly doesn’t suit me. So I asked the nurses for permission to bring you my guitar, in hopes that the memories our music would provoke, could rouse you from your slumber.
As with the paints, they quickly denied my request.
But lucky for you, I didn’t listen. Bittersweet melody flowed through the hospital halls; and though the melancholy tunes of Segovia brought some to tears, it did not wake you up.
They tell me the assisted living are the living dead, and I weep for you. Were it me on the bed that confines you, I would have died many times for lack on sunshine and rain. They told us three months, yet six months later here we sit- some would call it a blessing, but I know it is a curse; how could it be humane to let one suffer in the manner that you do?
Gradually, I begin to notice how large the gaps are between beeps on your heat moniter. It dawns on me that the curtain is finally falling on the one act play of your life. Hands clasped, I pray for you. I pray that whatever comes next is far less painful than what you were destined to endure here on earth.
And suddenly the incessant beeping ceases, replaced instead by one long and droning sound expelled from the machine. The perpetual fight is now over- and death, our thief and savior, took you from me, delivering you from torment and sending you into eternal bliss in union with the universe.