I’m standing in a house I don’t recognize, yet somehow I inherently know it is mine. It’s dark and I’m lost, yet turning on lights to dispel the shadows never occurs to me, for I am consumed with the drive to find someone who has been lost to me. The corridors twist and turn and the urgency to find the missing one presses into me like a physical weight. The more time that passes, the less chance I have to succeed. I stumble upon a secret passage and take it, although somehow I know I won’t find them here — because I won’t ever find them again. I feel dread pooling in my gut like a lead ball as I realize my searching is all for nothing.
Harsh fluorescent light and a steady, rhythmic beeping slowly pull me towards consciousness, but I am reluctant to open my eyes — unwilling to face the reality I know awaits me.
The sharp intake, then slow release of the breathing machine is steady and monotonous and without realizing it, my panicked breathing regulates to the pace of the machine. Steady beeping from the heart monitor induces calm.
Still not willing to open my eyes, I rest in my chair and recall the Physician’s last consultation with me. It is a burden I do not want — having to decide life or death. He advised me that this really isn’t life — this current state. The life support was for my benefit — because I wasn’t ready to let go. In my wretched human condition, I’ve been caught up in the what ifs because I couldn’t face the pain of letting go. Because what might life be without you?
I keep reminding myself that the machines are doing all the work — there is no life there — but a small voice in my head continues with the what ifs.
What if everyone is wrong?
What if there’s still a chance for life and I kill it?
What if we were to just to go on like this — who would it really hurt?
What if more time is what is needed to heal?
What if support is turned off and the suffering becomes unbearable?
What if I’m not strong enough?
These thoughts are swirling inside my head when the Physician sits down beside me and takes my hand in His. He pats it gently and murmurs words of comfort. There is nothing else to discuss — He’s answered every question, every what if scenario that I could devise.
Deep breaths in and out.
I look at the Physician.
“It must be your choice,” He gently reminds me.
“Yes. I’m ready now. It’s the right choice to let go.”
He stands and walks to the life-sustaining machine and quietly turns off the power. The silence is deafening as all support dies away. He returns to my side and we listen to the heart monitor beep…beep…beep…
I can hear it slowing down.
I rise from my chair, my heartbeat accelerating. Blood is pounding in my ears.
I look for any sign of life.
My soul is pleading for a miracle, even as I hear the monitor slowing more and more.
The Physician stands next to me and places a hand on my shoulder. Peace floods my soul and I realize I cannot keep holding on if my intent was to let go. That is not allowing death with any dignity.
So I take a moment to let these thoughts settle in and get comfortable.
“I’m okay with this. It’s what will bring healing.”
It seems as though that was what was needed — acknowledgement that life would eventually be okay again, in some form, because as the last word left my lips, the beeping slowed…then ceased.
It was difficult for me to watch a relationship die, but all the things I was doing to try to sustain it were getting us no where. Sometimes the only thing you can do is let it go. Not that it’s an easy thing to do. Letting go takes time and it hurts. I’m thankful God is always with me, sustaining me. I’m also thankful that during the healing, I don’t have to believe that God has something better or different for me in the future. I just have to believe that God has something. I’m okay with that.