The Last Step

Mound Park. . .Bayfront Hospital. . .Hospice. . .The infamous three. . .the last step being Hospice.  The same piece of historical architecture had provided so many momentous events within the confines of it’s long vast hallways, stark white operating rooms, and overly sanitized patient quarters (I can still smell the nasal penetrating bleach fumes and the unidentifiable grotesquely awful hand soap that could be detected for days even after multiple showers- that smell stuck with a person, ugh!) in the lives of numerous families be it births, surgeries, illnesses, and the “home-going”, as is the best term I’ve discovered for death.

“Hospice” is the equivalent term to the end, the last step, here in the flesh before the “home-going” that assuredly is to follow.

On this particular night, sadly I was in my ADHD haze of underestimating the amount of time tasks take and overestimating the amount that I could accomplish in a day.  So. . .I still had many incomplete preparations before I would be joining my mother as we would sit beside with my father as he entered the final wait.  I would have a suitcase packed, I would be showered, and I would be dropping my elementary age boys at school before arriving for what we were told could be up to two weeks.  There was something comforting knowing that, on this particular night, as she waited for me to join her, my aunt had joined her- the yin to her yang- that had been on this roller-coaster journey of questions, doctors’ appointments, tests and treatments, over the greater part of the last three years.  It was only right that they were together for the beginning of the end.  I had prepped, I had a substitute teacher filling in for me for this unknown length of time, I had my sons care covered for the next week at least, and I knew that my mother and I would have time to mourn the soul that lie in rest in front of us.

This was the plan. . .until it wasn’t.  

I, like any tried and true person who struggles daily with all things ADHD, was restless.  Sleep was escaping me on every level.  I was tossing and turning.  I knew any amount of precious slumber I could attain, would provide me the necessary energy to support one of the strongest women I had the admirable fortune of being related to.  But that was not to be. . .

“It’s your uncle.  Your mom called and you need to go to the hospital. . .now.” 

In that instant- all I could muster was. . .”I need to call my brother.”  and so I did.

When I was a child I can remember running errands with my mom, and no matter the task they always seemed to last forever. . .a “clock-watcher”, I was.  The second hand teasingly seemed to travel the circumference of the clock at a snail’s pace.  Then the “tick, tick, ticking” of any watched clock mimicked me in a way that was only equivalent to a cantankerous brat sticking her tongue out complete with saliva flying into the air and spewing droplets of awful.  That was the how this felt.  Like time was standing still.  Heart in my stomach, stomach in my throat, and the inability to speak a single word.  The knowing that “my plan” was not to be.  Knowing that whatever I encountered when I finally reached the other side of the cold metal door, that other-side of the bleak gray swinging metal door, the side containing a stunningly quiet darkened room with my mother, my aunt, and a larger than life man who’s life here on earth was dwindling with every passing second would be nothing that I could fully prepare myself for. . .

My legs moved without my body guiding them, my eyes focused without fully knowing what they were viewing, and my heart slowly began to break. . .a butterfly.  I was too late to say. . .goodbye.

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