John McCullagh July 31, 2007
aislin mcguckin

Cancer: the very sound of that awful word filled my head and my heart with uncontrollable grief and anger. I couldn’t bear the pain of seeing her youthful eyes close for the last time. I wanted to remember her in the full glory of life. 

I remember a doctor spurting medical jargon about laboured breathing and estimating that her departure was only hours away. He conveyed this vital information with a matter-of-fact tone as if he was timing a Sunday roast. I stroked her face with the palms of my hands – she appeared delirious but she cracked a wry smile by way of acknowledgement.

I held her hands but she failed to reciprocate the gesture. I didn’t know what to do. I was ignorant of the protocols associated with death. I dragged myself to the top of the bed and leaned over and kissed her face. Her cheeks were getting colder. My sister’s life was ebbing away and there was nothing that the medical staff or I could do to offset this conclusion. I decided to ‘take a rain check’ on this grim reality. I desired escapism, seeking out the one place where I could get a quick fix of happier times.

 

…. more "Calm" later ….

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