Hospital Impressions – Personal Snapshots of Life and Loss…

Hospital Impressions –   Personal Snapshots of Life and Loss                                                                                                      
                              – by K.L.Romo

I am a wife.

I am here for you
   I see, and hear, and feel for you.

The IV drip, lights blinking orange and green, silently sends its  
liquid relief in the early morning hours of your suffering.  Dispensing hydromorphone is its flashing declaration in the darkness.

I wipe the stray tears that escape your tired eyes, as you lay

flat and still, trying to trick the throbbing pain into believing it

can’t hurt you anymore. But unsuccessfully.

I gently touch your face, in vain attempts to comfort you.


I am a mother.

I am here for you
   I see, and hear, and feel for you.

Your terrified shrieks in the night still travel through my memory. Nurses poking you with tubes and needles; you wonder why I don’t  protect you.  My adult strength overpowers yours, and you spit at me in your last feeble attempt to make it stop.

Your screams and curses snake their way through the trauma that lives within these ER halls, between these walls that see so much, but keep their secrets to themselves. I beg you to stop fighting it;  the restraints dig deeper into your wrists.  But you don’t listen.

I mourn your suffering, the pain of childbirth but with no child, your anguish a punishment with no reward. A paper autumn leaf hangs from the door, a symbol to all that we are left with the cold and bitter vice of winter, not the warm and joyous touch of spring. Of  life.


I am a nana.

I am here for you
   I see, and hear, and feel for you.

You don’t cry upon entry into this world. There is no sound at all, only a total, hollow absence of joy; a vacuum of grief. It is the most horrible silence you can imagine, as if the world has stopped in respect for your birth. And death.

I’m the first to hold your swaddled form, to look at your face and wish you could look back. Your blanket holds only stillness – there is no breath inside. We hold you until your fragile body can no longer tolerate the warmth of our love for you; our need to hold you close. We gently lay you on the blanket that covers your tiny bed of ice.

Nana will always be here.


I am a mother-in-law.

I am here for you
   I see, and hear, and feel for you.

I hold your hand as you lay unconscious in the ICU, amidst the wires and tubes that are doing the living for you.  I listen to the family at the opposite bed say their goodbyes, and I pray that we won’t suffer the same anguish. I hang a rosary over your pillow.

I pray for miracles; I will not be disappointed.


I am a daughter.

I am here for you
   I see, and hear, and feel for you.

I expect to see you, but you aren’t here. In your place, I find an unfamiliar figure – a ventilator the only thing connecting you to the life you’d known.  Green numbers flicker on your machines but tell us nothing.  We already know.

Your chest rises and falls with each mechanical whoosh, the artificial breath filling your lungs, then leaving them just as quickly. It mimics life; we’re entranced by its mesmerizing sequence.  But we know better.

I hold your hand, the one you’d always said could never even sculpt a ball from clay. It had always been so strong, and now it lies still within my grasp. Mom covers your feet to lovingly protect you from the cold, her act of defiance against the gray winter that we know has come.

You always loved the winter.

We stand by your side. The machines are unplugged, the ventilator stops. It is just the end. No beeps or drawn-out squeals, the noisy pronouncements that your soul has left one world for another.

Only silence.


I am just me.

I am here for you
   I see, and hear, and feel for you.

I hold your hand, as I will, always.

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