The Last to Go

I knew my son could hear every single word spoken around him.

Some would tell me wishful thinking.  I would say to them…please, don’t burst my bubble. I’ve read the articles. Done my research.  I believe that the sense of hearing becomes heightened and fine tuned when the body is in a coma.

It’s the last to go.

It became imperative to me that the sounds reaching his ears would be positive.  Good vibrations.

Waves resonating all the love of my beating heart.

From the very first night, I would notice each nurse and watch how careful they were with my son.  Before I came to know any of them, I would politely ask about the task at hand and all of the why’s and the how’s and the what for’s. I would ask them to tell us (my son and me) step by step out loud as they worked.  I would watch their every move.

And you have to know that when I say I watched…it means more like I examined.

As if each nurse was being interviewed and auditioned as my son’s prized caregiver and I was a high definition Nanny Cam.

My highest and first criteria was to listen carefully…and the passing grade would be if they called my son by name. Addressed him directly by it.

Let me tell you…when I heard any caregiver that came to see us talk to my son as if he was able to talk right back…well, I praised the socks off of them.

I would soon begin to know their names and ask about their lives and developed what relationships I could.

This was now our environment.  Now our world.  I knew I could not change that.  I couldn’t change any of those tasks at hand…the why’s, the how’s, or what for’s.  I realized that I could not decide who would be doing the care or what procedures would be done or what drugs flowed through his veins.

If I let myself,  I could have drowned by feeling powerless over it all.

So I honed into what I could control.  What I could influence.

The sound of things around him.

To the best of my ability I would create an environment filled with positive affirmations.

And anyone who came to visit, I would make sure they did the same.  Say hello. Tell him about anything you would like, but keep it hopeful. Conversational.  Tell him you are glad to see him.  Tell him about your job or the football team or about your life. But please tell him.  Tell him that he is deeply missed out there and about the score of his favorite sport game and the tales of your children. Let him know most of all how much you care for him.

Make sure your conversations with others are careful, too. Don’t tell another how he looks to you just now.  Don’t say out loud how frightening it all is. Don’t.  Please don’t.

Yet, if you have to, it’s okay for you to cry.  Yes.  I understand. He won’t like that at all. He’d be really uncomfortable hearing the crying.  But he will have to get over it because I can’t help myself, either.  I know he has heard me cry, too.

Maybe as the sound of our weeping reaches his ears, it translates into a beautiful melody. The tone of our tears somehow converts in the air or transposes in his brain as lyrics of love…of adoration.  A sweet lullaby.  Let’s hope that’s true.

Most of all, before you go, tell him that you love him. Yes. That most of all.

I fell into that pace and rhythm during those days.  Staying positive.  Singing songs of praise over my son…over anyone who came within earshot.  I was determined to create a surround sound of beauty.

There would be no television playing or any music in the room.  No distractions.

Because I needed to be able to hear his breathing.

It was the only sound I longed for.

My ears became heightened and fine tuned to every single breath.  Even though it was forced through a tube lodged deep into his throat, it was my music.  The tempo of the in and the out and the harmony of the oxygen being forced into him…that was now my song. Constantly playing in the background of my heart, always on my mind, ringing and reverberating deep into my ears.

It was as comforting and as hypnotic to me as the rhythm of a ticking clock in the stillness of the night.  A sign of time still alive.   And I’ll bet there were times when my breath found the same exact rhythm…fell into the same cadence.

I needed it like I needed my own.

Yet inside I knew.  More than I would have ever imagined. More than I would ever have liked.  Though I would wish differently.  That bubble of mine would soon burst with a silent bang.

It was coming soon. The end of my favorite song.  Yes, I could tell.

That the sound and the music of his precious breath…

Would all too soon be the last to go.

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