It was difficult to determine from the lighting whether it was still night or had the morning brought with it an overcast sky. My eyelids still dutifully closed, my body seemingly weightless in my small bed. The old Victorian home I had grown to view with affection often settled in the night creating indescribable, inanimate groans. Yet, the noises that slowly entered my consciousness now were more than her old walls settling from the hustle and bustle she bore throughout the daylight hours.
I tossed in my blanket, feigning more rest. My alarm had certainly not shreeked yet. I had time before I would wake for work. I yawned and dug both my hands into my pillow. Who knew, with all the animals in our home, maybe one of our wandering cats interrupted my sleep?
Again, my senses were roused. There was activity right outside my bedroom door; the main bathroom across from where I lay. The sounds of hushed but urgent voices intermingled with doors and floors creaking became more discernible.
My Memere’s voice beckoned now, her delicate tone disguised by angst. I strained to hear her but only managed to hear muffled exchanges through my old wooden door. My eyes still closed, even with this budding awareness I drifted in and out of a light sleep.
My Memere had spent the night with us as her lifetime love was in the ICU nearby.
The front door taunted me as it closed behind hurried footsteps.
It was with this final sound that my thoughts became coherent.
My Pepere, my Pepere, is this it? Why else would they have rushed out at this ungodly hour?
My heart ached as I envisioned him declining in his unfamiliar and isolated hospital bed, yet my mind sternly and irrationally responded, “Stop, you have work today. You have to go! You are still on orientation!”
Persistent but gentle, my heart etched for me the uncosolable tears that would drift on my Memere’s cheeks. I would not be with her in her loss, nor with the others that faithfully gathered by his bedside.
Hours later, I sat defeated and crying myself at the chaotic nurse’s station. I hung my throbbing head in my hands. I had been loyal to caring for others but ultimately had denied my own. I now bore the ultimate regret, the rawest of consequences of allowing anything other than the echoes of my heart to lead me. I would never have the chance to hold his hand one last time and whisper, “I love you. I understand you’re time on earth is nearly gone, until we meet again.”
In his honor, I always pay due reverence to the sketching of the heart.