Her eyes open, slowly focusing at the rail on the side of her bed. She struggles to breathe, a flash of anger courses through her as she tries to inhale what little air she can get into her terminally ill lung. A tear slides by the side of her eye, as she prays silently for mercy. She rolls onto her back and stares unseeingly up the ceiling. Her thoughts jumble. Instantly, she has a lucid thought, “I had a good, long life.”
She turns to her side facing the door, seeing it open. A familiar face comes in, but she can’t quite remember his name.
“Hi, Mom,” the man says. He reaches out to touch her cheek.
His mother peers up at him; her eyes moisten. She shakes her head slightly, vaguely recognizing his voice, yet not quite certain. She still feels discomfort from not being able to complete a breath. She gets frustrated. She opens her mouth but can’t utter a coherent word.
“You want to sit up?” her son asks.
She barely gasps, “Up.”
He adjusts the bed to slightly raise the back. She’s looking at him but feeling tired all of a sudden. He sits on the chair next to her bed and stays with her. She closes her eyes.
The outside light through the curtains has dimmed when she comes to. She doesn’t know how long she’s been out, but she sees another visitor come in. She gasps with surprise. Even more pleasantly, she realizes how easy it is to breathe. A smile forms on her face, an expression she hasn’t worn for weeks. She’s fine now. Never better.
“Mom?” her son shakes himself awake as he notices how dark it’s gotten outside. He sees a slight smile on her face, as he bends down to try to hear her usual ragged breathing.
“She’s left me,” he thinks with mixed feelings, as he leaves to get someone to confirm her departure.
©2015 Karina Pinella