One year ago, I came home to an unfamiliar absence. There was no car in my driveway, no singing from my shower, no TV on, no mom. However, there stood my grandparents awkwardly trying to greet me and ask me what I did at school today, but what I did at school today was the last thing on my mind. I asked them where my parents had gone and their silence was almost enough of an answer for me.
For the past week, my mom had been sick. We thought it was the flu, but I had found out that day that it wasn’t. My grandparents had explained to me that my mom was really dehydrated and it led to her kidneys failing. The doctors said their wasn’t much they could do. They said she would have died if she came into the hospital any later than she did and that there was still a possibility that she could die during her time there, so it made sense when I had asked to go visit her.
I climbed into the car and buckled my seat belt. The radio was turned off and all I could hear was the sound of the rain and the silent screams in my head. Memories began to flood my sight and I couldn’t take it. The tears begin to flood as the rain still pounded against the windshield. The windshield wipers squeak with each attempt to make it clear to see again but with the tears in my eyes I couldn’t see a thing. I will always remember how the skies turned from blue to gray that very moment. I will remember how all the flowers became lifeless. All of the loud chatter of the world has come to an uncomfortable silence. I will remember the red hot temperature of the tears building up in my eyes. The pure desperation as they flowed down my face like a waterfall making me feel like I was drowning in an ocean of loneliness. I could taste the salt as they streamed down my cheeks into puddles of helplessness.
I had finally reached the hospital and when I went inside her room I sat down in the green chair facing her bed. It smelled of cleaning products and rubber gloves just as it always does. It looked as if the air was suffocating her. It looked as if the oxygen tubes were strangling her. I knew it was just my imagination trying to worsen things but I couldn’t help but feel like she couldn’t breathe. Maybe it’s because looking at her lie there so lifelessly made it feel I couldn’t breathe. She didn’t remember me and that made me feel more unwanted than I have ever felt before. I sat with her for about an hour but the oxygen tubes in her nose and neck and the beeping of the dozen machines she was hooked up to were making me feel uneasy. It was hard seeing my mom in that bed, so without another word I left.
After a few days I went back to the hospital. Back into the room with four blank walls and only a thin curtain dividing us from everybody else. Privacy is nonexistent in hospitals. It is also nonexistent in prisons, but I swore that today I wouldn’t let my imagination take over my brain. So I sat down in that green chair and I looked at her. She looked exhausted. She looked as if the exhaustion was causing her pain. She had lost ten pounds since the last time I had seen her. Her face was still at a loss of color. She remembered my name this time. Along with that of my brothers and sisters and my dad and my dog. She couldn’t remember our ages or anything about us.Not even the color of hair that we have, but she remembered our names and that was progress.
I went home and lied in my bed. I had shut the fan off because my room was so cold. I had lifted the heavy comforter over my shoulders and closed my eyes. I felt so lonely. My mom had been dying and I was so blind that I didn’t even know. I kept repeating to myself that she was only sick and that she would recover. I would open my eyes and she would be there to kiss me goodnight. That I would wake up in an hour or two and she would be laughing at the ridiculous way my hair always looked in the morning. I wanted this all to be a bad dream that I would wake up from. After hours of just lying in my bed I went to sleep and nobody kissed me goodnight. I had woke up the next morning to the sound of misery and sorrow and not the cheerful laughter I had hoped to hear. I came to the realization that this was not just a nightmare that I would wake up from. My mom was not just sick and she wouldn’t recover with just the wave of a wand.
A week went by before I visited her again. Her face had gained back some color. She had remembered more than just my name. She could point out who was who in a photograph. It was like when a baby says it’s first words. Like when a baby takes its first step. My mom was taking her first step back into recovery.
Eventually she took her actual first step. She no longer had to press the little red button when all she wanted to do was to pick up the glass of water that was sitting right next to her. She slowly started gaining her strength back and with each day that passed, she began remembering more. She still couldn’t breathe on her own but it didn’t seem like the oxygen tubes were strangling her anymore. I could finally take my first breath again. The skies had finally come out of hibernation and turned blue. The flowers had stood tall one again. I was no longer stuck in an uncomfortable silence. The screams in my head had finally stopped. My imagination was dreaming of all the room in outer space.
Eventually mom had came home. She was no longer stuck in the uncomfortable prison cott, locked behind the four blank walls. For about three or four months she had to keep oxygen tubes in her nose. The nurses came to check up on her every day. Now, a year later my mom is off oxygen except for at night. She has to use a CPAP machine as she sleeps but she has gained all of her strength back. Even though my mom is at the doctors and hospital most of the time, it’s better to have her live at home and not the at the prison that they call a hospital.