November 19, 2011 (8:15 pm)

by twofiftyorless

She was surrounded by her husband of 60 years, her 3 remaining children, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren. We circled her graying body as it still maintained a faint pulse. She was not alone, nor was she there.

For the last 30 minutes, her most basic of functions had persisted with no sign of consciousness. Her head had come to rest on the pillow on her reclined hospital bed. Her eyes, never blinking, were looking back over her right shoulder with her head turned in the same direction. Her mouth was agape, her lips dry. The woman that I had loved for 34 years was already dead, the medical staff just could not say so yet.

Instead, we stood beside her and waited anxiously for the rattling to stop.