It was December 5th, 2018 when I swung the door open from University Hospital into the dusky night. There was snow lining my path as I sucked in the cold air. A quick reminder-“Breathe, Angie!” The muscle memory kicked in to unlock and start my car as I turned the heater on full blast. I pulled my parka up to my face, rubbed the soft surface to my lips to self soothe. I had learned to do this over the last few weeks. I slept in that parka. It smelled like her. Her life was now in my parka and I clung to it for her dear life. My mind starts to replay what I’d just witnessed. — She asked us to pull the tubes. She knows the sign to make and she made it. I didn’t say a word. I hid behind my Christmas lights, Alexa speaker and decor I brought to somehow recreate “the establishment”, a place and community so she could feel at home. I hid somewhere in her line of sight and watched the nurses scurry to keep her comfortable.
I am so confused. What if she didn’t mean it? What if it was just a moment passing? What if she was saying that her nose itched, not that she wanted to be done? — My car radio connects its Bluetooth to my phone. I’m crying, no I’m bawling at this point. A song comes on that I have never heard. A song to shake me from my confusion of what she was asking and a song that I would listen to on repeat for the next 5 hours. I couldn’t leave my car even after I got home. The song. The song. She was talking to me.
My husband came out and sat with me as I howled for her dying physical body. I howled for her spirit far too large to stay. I howled because I KNEW tomorrow was goodbye. — So this night, two years later, I listen on repeat and honor our sweet friend for being brave enough to slap me upside the head and let me know. She was way overdue, It’s HER TURN to be free.