My step father had surgery today. The family gathered in support and prayer. Except me. I laid in the bed trying to convince myself to get up and go.
I don’t want to go there. On the second floor. When my youngest changed after school she said “Come on, Mom.” I’m the mom. I have to keep my shit together. Leaning over to grab my shoes I notice my port throbbing to the beat of my knee throbbing. My head also keeps time.
The elevator smells stale and moldy. The hospital room smells like urine. I sit and stare at the monitors beeping. His blood pressure is a tad low. His heart rate is a bit high but nothing worrisome.
Mom and I don’t talk much. We watch Andy Griffith. We are both lost in thought.
This is where my brother died. Right down the hall.
My mother sat across from me a few weeks ago and went over every tiny detail. It took hours. I soaked in her grief and confusion. My emotions rode close to the surface but I’ve learned to be an excellent listener. The things missing are the things no-one will ever know. What happened to Boo right before his phone call? Then the what ifs happen. What if this or that, that changes the course of events?
But there is no what if. There is only what is. My brother looked at my mother with tears in his eyes and told her he could not do this anymore. Then my brother went into the bathroom and took every single pill he could find in there. He lit a cigarette. He placed his shoes and lighter on the counter. He sat on the floor and opened his phone to a picture of his children. When my mother found him, it was too late.
Four days later his heart stopped. In that hospital on the second floor. I listened to the monitor stop beeping while on the side of the road. They held claiming his body for me to get there. Riding the elevator I noticed a stale mold smell and told myself to not vomit.
I’m so angry at the thing that did this to my brother. I’m angry at the mess it left behind.
Riding the elevator back down to the lobby I’m holding in my tears and vomit. I have a few moments alone and text him that I’m not okay. He doesn’t have pretty words tonight.
My daughter climbs in the car and we drive home, leaving my mother to sleep in the hospital where my brother died.