28 January 2008
The Final Gift
The Fisher House is dark and silent except for the ticking of the clock on the wall. She sits at the table with her coat on, and stares into nothingness.
It’s been several hours since we’ve met. Hours of small talk, of calls to home, and of sitting with her son. Hours of waiting, knowing each moment with him could be her last.
The papers have been signed, the registry’s been notified, the allocation process has begun.
It’s only a matter of time.
“He looks just like he’s sleeping”, she says. “Like he could open up his eyes any minute and say ‘Hey, Mom!’”.
Elsewhere, surgeons are making evaluations, patients are being notified, families are making their way to other hospitals.
One family’s tragedy is the hope of others.
The first surgical team arrives.
As time for this family runs out, other families are being given more of it, this most precious gift.
She’s told she can send something into the OR with him. A personal item perhaps?
She looks at the rings on her hands and seems uncertain.
I pull a pin out of my pocket. On it is the black silhouette of a Soldier, surrounded by golden wings.
“It’s not a personal item, but if you’d like to have it… “
She takes it, goes to her son, and pins it on his hospital gown.
She strokes his hair; his face. She holds him.
There is no agony like that of a parent losing a child.
As we leave, a nurse follows us.
"I want to say something," he says, taking her hands. "Back home I work on the receiving end of this. You've done a wonderful thing."
In the darkest, coldest, deadest hour of night we walk from the hospital to the Fisher House.
She sits down at the table with her coat on, and stares into nothingness.
The Fisher House is dark and silent except for the ticking of the clock on the wall.
Posted by MaryAnn