Saturday, August 20, 2011

We Pulled the Plug (Part 1)

    Two trees stand at the back of my house, guarding it through the days and nights.  One is a massive willow, with branches reaching all the way to the ground like overly-long warriors' arms.  It's the heart of my town; I swear that tree is powerful and endless like time.
     The second tree is a wisp of a thing; it causes me to worry that the winds might take it away.  It's over eight years old, and still struggles to grow.  
    Anyway, I stared at those two trees, devised and weighed the differences between them.  The little tree has always reminded me of Zeke because there's something wrong with it, and it will never be like other trees no matter how hard I hope and pray.  The big tree reminds me of myself, because it's always encouraging the little tree to be strong.
    I blinked back tears, willing anything to take the pain away. 
    "Why is he hooked to all those machines?" The Hippie asked, breaking me away from my thoughts.  Somehow she'd found a bunch of pictures of Zeke, and she wanted answers.
    "He only had one good lung."  I turned to her, putting my back to the trees beyond the window.  "He wasn't well, Honey, so the machines helped him breathe."
    "Why did they stop working?  Machines hardly ever stop."
    "It's not that they stopped.  Daddy and I decided . . ." A knot formed in my stomach, how could I explain my actions to a seven-year-old?  "We had to unplug the machine.  People call it 'pulling the plug.'"  The moments flashed through my mind.  I remembered his death, his life.  How I had to be strong even though I was only nineteen.  I almost need to read my journal again, just to remember the amazing things that happened to confirm we'd done the right thing.  Every once in a while, I just need to remember the miracles God brought our way.
    But still, why did she have to ask so many questions, and why after eight years, does it still hurt?
    The Hippie's face grew red.  She balled her fists.  "What?  He could still be here, but because of you, because you wanted him to die, you took him away from me!  I wanted an older brother, always have.  But you took him away from me."
    She didn't understand.  I know a seven-year-old is too little to know about life, pain and death.  She couldn't understand how fast I had to grow up, feeling like an old lady in a teenage body.  Yet her words stung deep.  
    She ran into her room and threw herself on the bed.  "I'm so mad at you," she said.  "I wanted an older brother!"
    And I wanted to keep my son!
    "He was in so much pain.  If you were hurting everyday and always would be, would you want to stay alive. . . on machines?  Like when you have to poop really bad?  Imagine feeling that pain forever."
    (Sorry for the graphic-ness, The Hippie just hates pooing, so it was the perfect reference.)  
    "Yeah, I'd rather be alive. And Zeke felt that way too.  You took his life
. . . you did.  And you didn't even give him a choice."  I closed her door, and my baby Hippie, the healthy, rainbow baby I'd had after Zeke, fell asleep in her clothes.
    How can I explain how much her words hurt me? How my own latent fears, came to the surface again?  
    After I got all my other kids to sleep and even Cade, I went to watch "Wings."  I'm addicted to that show, and more than ever, I felt like I should watch it to help cheer me up.
    But before I watched it, I knelt next to the couch.  "God," I prayed.  "I'm so sad.  I know you've already given me a million confirmations that we did the right thing, but can you give me another sign?  Even something small, just to help me know we did the right thing?  I love you, God.  Thanks for everything you've given me, even if you had to take some things away."
    I sat down and clicked on the next episode of "Wings."  Netflix is a beautiful thing.
    You'll never believe what happened; here's what I watched:
    Go to seconds 1:07-1:50

    I cried then; the words hit me so much.  Everything they said went straight to my heart as if God Himself spoke to me.  The point is that Zeke did take a turn for the worst during the night.  That's when the nurse called to tell me we should let him go.  He probably would have been a vegetable if we kept him on machines.  And if by some stroke of luck, he wasn't a vegetable after everything he'd gone through, he would have been miserable for the rest of his life.
    I rewound to those words again, "You did the right thing . . . you did the right thing."
    I turned down the TV's volume and gazed through the back window.  Maybe it was a sign.  I smiled with tears skirting the edges of my lips.  
    I noticed then, it was dark outside, even though the porch lights shone on my special trees.  Light danced across the leaves.  The branches drifted back and forth in what seemed like the beginning of a storm.
    I scrolled to the weather channel and gaped as the news paraded across the screen.  Our city was about to have the worst wind storm of the century.  Winds were predicted to get up to 80/85 mph.  
    I looked at my little tree and death rode on its branches.  That tree reminded me of Zeke.  I couldn't imagine it toppling over and leaving me too.  
     As I stared, the winds worsened. The trees rocked and shook.
    "Oh, God," I cried.
    You'll never believe what happened next.
    To be continued tomorrow . . .

    On a side note, I'm thinking of doing a blog tour for "The Golden Sky" coming out on 11/18/11.  If you're interested in letting me do a serious or humorous guest post, interview me as an author, or review my book on your blog, please contact me here: ecboutique05(at)gmail(dot)com