If I could tell the story, I would say goodbye. If I was able to relive those moments, I would return to that white clapboard house with the green shingles, door with peeling white paint, and lonely, swinging gate. I would enter as if I belonged, and I would say goodbye.
Yes, I would enter through that white door, listening for the familiar sound of the creaking hinges that seemed always to speak regretfully of neglect and squandered opportunity. I would proceed down that dark hallway, hands guiding me in the dim light, oak floorboards creaking beneath my feet.
Entering her room, I would tiptoe towards her bed, listening for the telltale sound of her soft, even breathing. Quietly sliding one of her straight-backed and ubiquitously uncomfortable chairs to the side of the bed, I would reach across, place my hand over hers, and watch silently as her abdomen rose and fell with the tide of her breath. I would make note of her long fingers, delicate hands, and fluttering eyelids, and I would see her jugular vein pulsing in her neck like a living metronome.
Then the clock on the wall would strike the hour as it has for decades. Her eyes would open slowly, adjusting to the late afternoon light. We would regard one another with compassion and grace, and all would again be well.
(c) 2008 NurseKeith