The Death of a Child

The illness invaded your little body but pierced mine with a thousand pointy knives.

It should have been me and not you, but you cannot bargain with God.

 

The moment replays endlessly in my head.

The fluorescent lights of the hospital room buzzed like angry bees, which you would never see again.

They made you look even paler than you already were.

You held my sweaty hand feebly for hours, begging me, “Please don’t let me die.  Promise me I

won’t die.” I wish I could, sweetie. I wish I could. I still feel your touch when I go to sleep.

Your translucent eyelids slowly opened and closed. I could see my reflection on the glassy surface.

The heart monitor beeped and beeped and beeped at a steady rate. You told me that after the

first month you couldn’t hear it anymore, but it still kept me on edge. Knowing that any minute

       it        could        stop.

 

You strained to speak and the beep slowed. I called for the nurse. I don’t know why. You said you

wanted to spend your last moments with your Mama.

 

One hand holding yours, I put my other one on your clammy forehead. I put my head on your

chest but couldn’t feel a beat. That was when your cool last breath washed over my ear.

 

NO.         NO.         NO.

 

It can’t be. You can’t be dead. It’s too soon. 

 

Your eyes stayed open and stared into mine like lasers. I couldn’t take my eyes off yours, even

when the nurse came in and fiddled with the wires that had become one with you.

 

I never got to say “goodbye”…. or “I love you”. 

I tried to get it out through choked sobs.

My hot, salty tears fell on your angelic face.

 

I’ll see you again one day, baby.

Emily Stein

Originally appeared in the 2013-2014 edition of Outside In