Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 23

love Al or that I was happy he was dying.  They were “No, no more.  No more extreme measures.”  I finally said the witnesses, a wordless Greek chorus to the tragedy what I should say—the lines that had been written for me. unfolding. The doctor assured me that this was the right course, that, deprived of oxygen, Al’s brain had probably been severely Perhaps 20 minutes went by.  Maybe it was a half damaged during the long period when his heart had hour.  It seemed a long time to me, sitting there in the stopped.  So, I sat and watched and waited.  After a while rocking chair, still dressed in my pink flannel pajamas, I asked the doctor, “Is he still alive?”  I didn’t know. worrying about what the officers were thinking of me and Soon enough he told me Al had passed.  I was still wondering what was happening upstairs.  Finally, the absolutely calm.  I felt I should be crying.  I sat and sat— EMT’s brought Al downstairs, strapped to a stretcher.  didn’t touch him.  But I felt this was our good-bye.  Thirty His face was covered with a breathing mask.  His body, years.  As I sat with him, I located in my mind the day’s restrained by straps, seemed very stiff.  What I took to be date, May 5, 2010, a day that would be etched in my the lead EMT told me they’d succeeded in restoring his memory.  May 5th—it was Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican heartbeat.  I hadn’t really understood that his heart had holiday, adopted by Americans.  A lot of partying today stopped.  Now it was beating again and I said aloud, to I thought.  But not at my house.  Cinco de Mayo will now no one in particular, “See, they’re bringing him back.” have a different meaning.     They took him to nearby Roxborough Hospital.  I told the After a little while, I took my cell phone out of my hand officer I knew it was on Ridge Avenue and she nodded.  bag and started making the calls.  Then I left the hospital, She didn’t offer me a ride.  I wondered if that was because with the sun just starting to enter the sky, and I found my she thought I was cold and heartless.  I just quickly dressed car in the weak light of daybreak.  I put one foot in front of and drove through the darkness of the night time empty the other until I got to the car, turned on the ignition and streets. headed for home.  I still didn’t cry.  Instead I felt a strange kind of exultation:  his end had come, fate fulfilled.  It In the ER, after giving Al’s information, I sat and sat, would take many months before I realized the dull ache still calm, not crying.  I really felt I should cry.  A nurse of loss, the enormity of emptiness. But then, as I drove appeared and told me, with a mildly disapproving tone, through the morning sunlight, I just wondered what I was that what they were doing to Al constituted “extreme supposed to do next. measures” to maintain life.  Did I want this?  Would he      want this?  I was confused.  I offered to drive home to He’d been a good husband and a bad one too.  I’d loved get his living will.  But I knew what it said—no extreme him with passionate intensity and hated him, too, at times.  measures. But I never wanted him to leave me.  And now he had done just that.  The disapproving nurse ushered me into a curtained- off cubicle where Al lay, with multiple wires and tubes connected to his motionless body.   His eyes were open and staring straight ahead; his color was chalky.    The Jeanne Omans lives in Philadelphia and is a retired breathing machine made a rhythmic whoosh sound.  The professor of English who taught composition and literature breathing mask was fixed to his face.  He didn’t look at Camden County College in Blackwood, NJ. After alive because he was so absolutely still.  I sat with Al for a retirement, she found hers VbG&wVVB'FRw&Fr`vRvVBVrF7F"vF6gBf6RFBRV"W"v&2&VVV&Ɨ6VBFRƖRW&FWvW&RvfrvW&gV*G'Vw2FF&B'vVBffVBvFw&FrVRV0&W77W&RBFWvVBG&6fW"FFV6fR6&RvƶrvFW"F&W&66W"&VRFV( 26'VFW.( 2vG2#