I’m going to start this story by introducing the main character, a 14 year old girl – we’ll call her Jane – who was about to be woken by her mother with 2 words that would turn her life upside down.
Those 2 words made Jane gasp – eyes wide she sprung out of bed, hands covering her mouth.
What? That can’t be. He promised he’d be ok. No, you’ve got it wrong, you heard it wrong. Half asleep, you didn’t hear it right. It’s ok.
It’s not ok.
“The taxi is on its way.”
Get dressed. Deodorant, you’re sweating. Teeth, have to brush your teeth, mouth tastes like ass. Where are your glasses? Can’t go without them, can’t see without them. Hair, find a brush – get a hair tie, just chuck it up out of your face.
What! I’m not ready! I’m ready to go but I’m not ready.
Get in the taxi.
What’s taking so long?
It’s not ok.
Jane and her mum arrive outside of the hospital.
Come on, woman! Why are you walking so slow? Shit, lifts aren’t working, take the stairs.
Slow down? Slow down?! No I will not. Yes I will. Need to wait for mum. She’s trying.
Jane walked into the room, her mum waited outside out of respect for the second wife. There he was, barely awake with an oxygen mask over his face. He acknowledged Janes presence with an enthusiastic “Jane” as he looked at her worried face. That would be the last word he would utter to his daughter. As he drifted in and out of consciousness, people came and went but Jane stayed holding her dads hand and watching as minutes blurred into hours.
Jane and her 17 year old sister sat either side of their dad, each holding his hands. He began to moan, letting go of Janes hand. His hand went to his torso. Jane looked on, she didn’t know what to do. Her sister stood up and tried to find out the problem. “Is something hurting Dad?” He continued to moan, he started to touch his oxygen mask, it was irritating him. A nurse came to help. The girls left the room….
“I can’t wake him up. Why isn’t he waking up?” Desperately Jane looked to her sister for some sort of answer.
“He’s just sleeping Jane.”
Confusion shrouded her mind.
Whats happening? Where are they going? Jane watched as her step mum gathered things in a bag. She was going to freshen up. Now? She also saw her brother going. Then panic as her sister stood up. What? No! She can’t leave. Please don’t leave. As if she could hear her thoughts, to Janes relief, her sister sat down again. Phew. Just after her step mum and brother left 2 nurses came into the room and asked Jane to leave while they “cleaned him up”. The door closed. Janes sister went to the toilet. Jane barely noticed her mother’s presence.
A nurse approached Jane and her mother, saying something along the lines of ‘he hasn’t got long, it’s time to say goodbye.’
“My sister, she’s in the toilet” said Jane desperately as she was ushered into the room by the nurse.
As Jane stood there by her fathers side, she tried to make sense of what was happening. But it was as if everything was just happening around her and she was just being led, confused. Her sister came in, ‘thank goodness’ Jane was vaguely aware of thinking. They stood either side of him, each had a nurse by their sides. They gave him a kiss on his cheeks, he stopped breathing – one of the nurses went to close his eyes properly and he gasped! Shock and pointless hope shot through the girls. That was his last breath. Each of them gave him one last kiss on his cheeks. As Jane stood back up brown liquid came pouring out of his mouth and onto his chest.
More shock. Their hands went to their mouths as they gasped. The nurses quickly hurried them out of the room to their mother. They weren’t supposed to see that. Their mother put an arm round each girl and they were led to the family room.
“Would you like to see a priest?”
Jane looked up, anger seared through her. ‘A priest?’ As she glared at the nurse her mother said politely “No thank you.”