She was standing in the middle of the spartan room, its walls a starkly white. Just moments ago, there had been a flurry of frantic activity around her. People rushing in and out, doctors shouting instructions, monitors beeping madly; her eyes took in every minute detail, her mind not registering the significance of any. She watched as the nurses and attendants noiselessly rushed about. It was as if a movie was being played in slow motion; only someone had turned the volume off.
But all that seemed to have died down now. She was now facing a doctor, who it seemed was talking to her but she could not hear anything. The doctor’s lips were moving but no sound came out. She could see everything, had even started to hear snippets of conversation but could not react. She stood there paralyzed, unable to move, unable to speak, unable to react. The news was not just shocking, it was devastating. Was it true what the doctor had just said. He had been not drunk, they had earlier told her. She had known that already. Of course, he wasn’t! He hates alcohol.
She opened her mouth to say it aloud but no words came out. The police wanted to speak to her, they said. Why? What was left to talk about? If they could not bring him back, everything else was just pointless, she thought.
What was she to do now? What would she tell the boys? How was she supposed to live anymore? Was she supposed to wake up every morning and pretend nothing had happened?
“Mom”, she heard a cracked whisper call out to her and turned around to see her 12 year old standing in the doorway. Tears streaming down his face, he looked a spitting image of his father. His father who was now dead.
Had he seen what had just happened? Had he heard the doctor’s words? Had he seen them struggle futilely to revive him? Had they really just told her that his heart and body were too weak from the trauma of the accident and that they were unable to bring him back? Had all of that just happened and had he really seen all of that? He shouldn’t have had to see this! She should have been more responsible. She should have been more protective of her sons than to allow them to be here like this. They were just kids. What kind of mother was she to allow a 12-year-old to watch his father die! What would she tell her younger one, who was just 8? What would she tell the one who was kicking her at that moment – the one who was not even born yet?
She looked down at her 8-month pregnant belly and up again at her son’s tear-streaked face. She resolved not to let life defeat her. She would be their father and mother, she decided. She bent down to wipe her son’s tears and hugged him hard. “Where’s your brother?” she asked him.
“In the waiting lounge, I told him to stay there.”
She silently marveled at her older son’s wisdom and realized that she may have just lost her husband but still had the family they both had started together.
With one hand on her belly and the other holding young Jay’s hand, she slowly walked out the door, knowing that tough times lay ahead.