(Inspired from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy)
Silence hung in the hospital room. A middle aged woman lay on the bed in a hospital gown a middle aged man held her hand and sat by her side, their daughter and the doctor stood nearby discussing something.
The young lady turned to her mother with tears in her eyes,” please Ma, at least listen to him.”
“What for sweetheart? We all know what he’s going to say do-“, she started in a frail, weak voice when her husband cut in,” I’d like to hear it though, once more. Please son, go on.”
“well , as I explained earlier this is an experimental surgery, it has a high risk but if all goes well, she would get a few years, not months. The cancer has spread to her lungs so we need to move ahead as soon as possible. But, I won’t lie, she may not survive the surgery. I am confident of a success though.”
“No, I won’t have it. Whatever you say the risk that I won’t walk out of this hospital is something I can’t accept. My only daughter is getting married in a month and I will be there for it. I want to and I will. I’m ready to die the very next day but it’s the wedding I want to be there for.”
“Ma please, my wed-“, the girl spoke through her tears when her mother spoke with a new found strength, “NO! Whatever anyone says the answer is still no. Please don’t try to take my daughter’s wedding away from me.”
The silence returned to the room. The girl and her father had tears in their eyes. The mother looked away and the doctor stood there unsure of what to do or say.
Finally after a few moments the doctor spoke again,” Sir, Annie please meet me in my room after sometime. “
With that he left the room after glancing at Annie and giving her an “everything will be okay” look.
Annie sat with her mother and father, none of them had anything to say. They just held each other’s hand and silently wept.
After an hour Annie and her father made their way to the doctor’s cabin.
As soon as she saw him Annie put her hands around his neck and leaned onto his chest, he in turn tried to calm her by running his hand through her hair and kissing her forehead.
He spoke to her softly as her father watched them a small smile on his face,” Dearest, don’t cry now na. Your mother will be okay. I-We will do everything we can, but she has to agree to this.”
She looked at him and spoke through her tears,” I tried Chris, I tried. But she’s adamant that she wants to be at our wedding and I can’t-“
He embraced her as she burst into tears.
Her father edged closer and placed his hand on her shoulder,” Sweetheart control yourself, now is not the time for tears, If it’s the wedding your mother wants to be at, let it be so, let her go happy.”
Chris sat her and her father down. He walked over to his seat and stood there silent for a few moments. He looked at them and softly spoke,” The problem is, without this surgery she may not make it to the wedding.”
The father and the daughter looked at him horrified. They sat there holding each other staring at him for many moments until he spoke again as calm and assuring as he could manage, “sit with her for a few more hours and go home, let me try talking to her, alright?”
“Hey Ma”, He called out as he entered her room,” I off duty so I’ll be with you tonight.”
He settled down on the chair beside her bed and smiled at her.
“I know why you’re here sonny boy. It’s not happening so don’t even talk about it”.
“Oh! Are you talking about the surgery? I had no intention ma, Honest.” He replied faking surprise.
“Right! I know you. My daughter’s told me all the stories. I know you’re not one to give up easy. “, Her frail voice now sounded annoyed.
“Very well then, I’ll skip the build-up. But we are talking about this. I’m not going anywhere till we do.”
“Son there is nothing to talk abou-“, she started very annoyed.
He drew a long breath and pleaded with her, “So you say every problem in her life will end with the wedding? That’s it? She won’t need her mother after marriage? What about when she fights with me? Who will she call for recipes or ideas? What about when she’s having trouble coping with something? What about when we have kids Ma? She will need you through everything. Do you really think she’s worried about a wedding when her mother is dying? The only reason she’s agreed to it when you are in bad shape is because you wish for it.”
“Son isn’t it every mother’s dream to be pres-“
“You might not make it through the week Ma let alone the wedding”, he said softly in an apologetic tone.
They sat in silence for many moments before exchanging many more sentences regarding the surgery and her mortality. In the end she placed her hand on his and asked,” Do you think I will make it?”
“I hope you do Ma, I’m going to schedule the surgery now, okay? I’ll be sitting it out; my colleagues don’t think I should operate on family.”
She nodded in reply before stretching her hand towards him. He moved closer and took her hand in his as she spoke,” I’m glad you both found each other son”.
He smiled and whispered, “I’m glad too Ma” before leaving the room to schedule the surgery.
She lay there the rest of the night trying to comprehend everything he had said. He was right, she needed to be there, and the wedding would be just another day, it was life her daughter needed her for and she wasn’t going to let this disease get in the way.
The next morning she lay there holding her husband and daughters hand. She said goodbye just in case as the attender wheeled her out for prep, all three of them tried in vain to hide their tears. She nodded to Chris as they passed him in the corridor and he nodded back. The last thing she felt was the pinch of the needle of the syringe held by the anaesthetist.
A large crowd was gathered in the cemetery. They stood around the grave of Mrs.Maryanne George, Annie’s mother. Her Husband, George, stood there blankly staring at the grave as the priest offered one last prayer. Annie stood there sobbing; she held onto Chris’s hand and was leaning on him. She was holding their nine year old son by his hand while he was carrying their five year old daughter. As their eyes met both, Chris and Annie thought back to that day in the hospital all those years ago.