When You Believe

December 29, 2011
By , hshdh, United States Minor Outlying Islands
"Miracles happen when you believe!"

Those were the words written on the stupid poster thing in the window to his hospital room. We believed. More than anything we believed that he would make it out... eventually.

He went in mid-April wearing a suit and tie. It was supposed to be a simple operation, not even going to take a week. When a brand new pacemaker in a 65 year old man malfunctioned, it was the beginning of the end.

He spent 8 months in there, and for 8 moths, I was a 12 year old boy walking in there every day to visit him. He went back and forth between ICU and Rehab a few times. He developed several different infections from being in there so long, He got diabetes in there, and he had his last birthday in there, but he never came out.

“He’ll be home for the 4th of July!”
“He’ll be home for his birthday!”
“He’ll be home for Thanksgiving!”
“He’ll be home for Christmas!”
As each holiday came and went, we kept setting new goals for him. We were getting ready to build a ramp on the steps up to the front door of his house, and we were going to make the entire house handi-accessible for him. The entire family kept telling ourselves, each other, and everyone that knew about it he was going to come out... he was going to come out... Like our combined willpower could heal him.

Prayers, wishing, hoping, reading, talking, laughing, crying, nothing could bring him out, and nothing could prepare us for him dying. We all had such high hopes and high expectations that nothing could stop the shock, pain, and anger when we heard that he died.

Some time late at night, I wake up. I don’t know why I woke up and I don’t remember dreaming. I look at the clock. 1:41 AM on December 15th. I sighed and rolled over, trying to go back to sleep, but no matter how long I lay there under the covers with my eyes gently closed, I couldn’t fall back to sleep.

I heard the front door open. My mom was finally back from the hospital. I could hear she was crying. I lay there and kept trying to fall asleep, not even bothering to look at the clock. I hear from the other room her waking my dad up. “He’s dead” she said, bawling. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think. I just lay there, listening to the jumbles of words and syllables between sobs.

It took a while, but she finally regained herself enough to talk so the words weren’t scrambled beyond recognition. “We were all standing there around him, crying.” she began. “All 3 of us, and we were watching heart rate on the machine. It just kept going lower and lower and no matter what they did they couldn't keep it up.” I clenched my eyes shut as tight as they could go. I didn’t want to believe it.

“It just kept going lower and lower and they couldn’t stop it then at 1:41 it hit 0...” It wasn’t true... I kept telling myself it wasn’t true... “And when it hit 0 mom started screaming out ‘He’s not dead! He’s not dead!’ and me and Jen had to hold her back...” I don’t remember much that was said after that, and I don’t think I wanted to remember. I do remember crying myself to sleep.

No amount of words can express what it was like during those 8 months. No amount of writing can properly tell about the sadness, the determination, the hope, the sorrow, and the eagerness for the 8 months to end and for him to be home and recovering, but we never for a minute gave up and accepted the very real fact that he could die, and he did.

I still stay up sometimes... I stay up until 1:41 AM. I talk out loud, tell him about my life, I play guitar for him... And I feel like he’s there listening... I feel like he’s proud of me. I have his dogtags too. I wear them all the time. Every time I move, I hear the jingle and it reminds me of then... And I wonder... Do miracles really exist?

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