Moving On

Life flashes by, birds tweet and weather changes, but I feel obsolete. Nobody sees me, but I see them. I see their faces, alive and bright. I am here but nobody sees me, I am here but I am not.

I fight to move, I fight to feel, I fight to live but there is nothing. I am a shell with a hollow centre. I am nothing. I am here, but I am not. My eyes see all, my ears hear everything. My body craves the movement I had before. I see their pain, I see their love, but I fail to show mine. My body screams for a release, my mind screams to be heard and my heart aches for her. I see her pain, see her arms as they encase me, but I don’t feel her touch. My skin has no tingle as her hand caresses mine, but I feel on the inside.

I want to call her name, I want to tell her I am here, I want to tell her not to cry for me, I can sense her pain and that makes me ache with love and sadness. My mind is swimming with endless thoughts of life, thoughts of love and memories of laughter and joy. All of it gone in a moment. I was happy, young and I loved my life. Before I was gone, before my life changed, I took so many things for granted and adored material things. But now I see that there is only one thing a person can own and that’s love. To love and to be loved is such a precious thing. Everyone craves it, everyone fights for it and everyone has it.

I have tried to grasp where the point of change was, when I went from being alive to being here. Memories swim around my mind. The laughter I had with my friends and the excitement I felt when I finished school for half term. I remember seeing the boy I liked across the road, and then there is a muddled mess of noise and images. The screams and crying came first, then the realisation that I was lying on the floor looking up into the faces of ambulance crew. Everything happened too quickly, even now when I try to remember, then it feels like I have my finger pressed down on the fast forward button. I tried to move, but they had me strapped down to a board, which was eventually lifted up into an ambulance. My eyes hurt when I looked up into the light. I remember the pain from my stomach and legs, and how I tried desperately to call for my mom, but I couldn’t find my voice and I could only taste the acrid copper taste of my own blood. People around me were talking of an accident and I heard a familiar female voice saying, ‘the car came out of nowhere’ but I was swiftly drifting into darkness before I had time to realise that my friend was talking about me.

The moment I closed my eyes was the moment I lost. Since that moment I have been floating on a choppy wave, waiting for something but not knowing what it is. Monitors beep in the distance and sounds of life wrap around me, containing me in my own bubble, a world where only I exist. My eyelids are still closed. Since that ‘moment’ I haven’t opened them. But I can still see, I can see more than I could before. I see the love of those around me and I hear their sorrow for me. My body feels nothing, but I ache on the inside, emotions and feelings weighing me down. I feel as though I am drowning, but there is no relief from my anguish. Time has gone by slowly, but I don’t know how long I have been lying here. Days, weeks, months, I have no way of tracing the time, but the hours seem endless, causing me to feel impatient and frustrated, but I have no way to show this. It would feel good to scream, to put all my energy into opening my mouth and to let the sound roll from my lips, but my body is frozen and numb. I can only scream on the inside, silent and small, but what is the point? Nobody can hear me. I lie solid and stiff, watching my mother as she paces around the hospital room. Her eyes are red from crying and she is holding a small brown teddy bear, which I used to sleep with when I was little. It has a small tear in the right ear, where I pulled it roughly from my younger brother. She hugs it to her chest and her shoulders rise and drop as her soft tears turn into sobs. My heart hurts and I try to look away, but I feel myself drawn to look at her. The woman who gave me life is now considering a difficult decision, the only option which we have left. Dr Thompson had spoken to my mother hours earlier whilst she had stood holding my hand, he had informed her of my brain damage, he had told her that all had been done to help me, but he informed my mother that unfortunately there was nothing else keeping me alive but the machines. It was then, at that moment, that I had accepted my fate, my life was no more, but I wanted to tell her to live and to go on living. The room had brightened considerably after I had accepted that I was moving on, but there was no sun coming in through the windows, there was only a small circle of light which had appeared on the opposite wall. It was bright and bathed the area in light so beautiful that I longed to touch it. Nobody else could see it, or if they did, then they weren’t taking much notice of it. There are four people in the room, including me. My mother stood near me, still clutching my cuddly toy. Behind her, holding her close to his side is my father. His eyes show pain, but he sheds no tears, but I know that he will cry for me when he is on his own. My dad has always been a proud man and my heart throbs with love for him. On the opposite side of my bed is Dr Thompson, his eyes and stance show sympathy towards my parents’ painfully hard decision. It lies solely with my parents and I will them with all my being to let me go. Not for me, but for them. I want them to live for me; I want them to go on and be happy and to remember me as I was, not how I am now. My father squeezes my mother tight to him and nods in the direction of the doctor, his wife sobbing quietly into his chest.

The light is slowly growing and the room takes on a white-washed look. It’s as if someone has turned up the brightness. The features of the people around me become more difficult to make out and, against the white light, their forms appear like silhouettes. Dr Thompson mutters a few words to my parents, but I don’t catch what he is saying. Condolences maybe? All I am focused on is that circle of light which is now big enough for me to crawl through. The tunnel it opens up is stunning to look at; there are a hundred different swirling colours, all of them bright and sparkling. The tunnel is long and as the hole gets bigger, I see that there is an end to it, there is life there.

The machines in my room stop beeping and the ventilator which has been pumping up and down endlessly now stands silent. My mother looks down at me and holds onto my hand, tears trailing down her cheeks. Behind her, still holding her tightly is my father. Strong and proud, his face is pinched together in pain. He is trying to hold himself together, trying not to cry, but he can’t control his emotions and he silently covers his face with his free hand and sheds tears for me, his sixteen year old daughter.

I am suddenly aware that I am no longer lying down on the hospital bed, but I am standing up. My parents are next to me, both lost in their sadness, neither noticing that I am inches from them. Looking down at my body, I see what they see. Wires snake wildly across my body, leading up to the now silent machine. My head is wrapped in bandages, pieces of my blonde hair streak across my damp skin. Purple circles are evident around my closed sunken eyes. The colour of my skin appears grey and dull, even in the blinding whiteness of the room. Small is the word that comes to mind. I look small; lying tucked up in the clean white sheets that cover my final bed.

I find my gaze drawn back towards the circle of light, which is now big enough for me to walk through. The end of the tunnel is easy to make out and I see beauty and happiness there. There are hundreds of people waiting there, smiling and waving, calling me to them. I see faces I recognise, great aunts whose funerals I attended when I was a kid, an uncle who died when he was my age and plenty more faces that I recognise from photo albums and from my childhood. The field they stand in is full of pretty flowers of all colours and my eyes pick out animals amongst the group who wait for me. Everyone looks happy, everyone is smiling. There is no pain there; I know I will be safe forever. I see it, I hear it, and I feel it. I breathe in the rich lavender scent, carried on a light breeze that ruffles my hair and cools my skin. I feel alive and ready for my new life

I turn to look at my parents, both lost in their grief, both unable to speak through their pain. Words can not describe what I am feeling. Happy and excited about my new life, but sad and angry about leaving my old one behind. I love my parents, I love my life, but I know I cannot stay. Stepping back towards the two who created me, I feel sorrow for having to leave them behind. Maybe I can stay; maybe I don’t have to leave. I look back towards the tunnel and I see my Granny Poppy approaching me. We hug each other tightly, both jubilant about seeing one another again and I know then that I will see them again. My parents will live their lives and when the time comes, I will welcome them to their new home. My heart sings for that moment. Granny Poppy holds her hand out to me, eager to take me with her. With as much energy as I can muster, I walk back to my parents, wrap my arms around them and hold them tight to me, whispering, ‘I love you’. My breathe comes out like a breeze and blows my mothers fringe. She looks up and her eyes meet mine, I know she can see me, because she starts towards me. Holding out for my Granny’s hand, I walk back towards the tunnel, breathing in the rich floral aroma.

I take one last glance at my mother. She is watching me leave, her arms clinging to my oblivious father. Smiling at her, I wave a goodbye. My mother smiles back, tears filling her eyes again. As her words of love follow me down the long tunnel, I know that everything is going to be okay.

This isn’t the end for me, it is only the beginning.

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Short Story
writing StephersG
Pen to paper, fingers to keys. I am just here to write.
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The end of a life through the eyes of the dying.
A Word from the Writer
I was having a hard day at work and my boss was stressing about paperwork this and paperwork that. It was then that I imagined having something real to complain about. We all complain about having to work, but at least we have a job to pay the bills and live. We complain about a friend calling too often or not enough, but at least we have these people around to complain about. And we complain about being overweight, but at least we have food to fill our stomachs. Imagine having to make a life-changing decision. Having to see a loved one pass way before their time. We have all had family and friends who have died and we grieve for them, but I wanted to explore the possibility that a person in a coma can still hear and feel. I opened my mind and heart to the possibilities and wrote this story. I hope you enjoy.