The few moments she seems lucid, you pull down your mask, so she can see who you are—who wants to die looking up at strange masked faces? Her eyes focus on you, and she smiles, and you feel touched by grace: She knows me! The med-tech comes in to tend to something, and she sees you, and bursts into tears; you break protocol to hold her in a hug filled with love and tenderness, hiding your empathetic tears in her luscious dark hair.
Thoughts turn dark in the hours alone with her. You make whispered bargains that prove your doubts and suspicions about the existence of God. Selfishly, you secretly hope she’ll pass while you’re there, to stop her pain, her constant frustration with the world wrought upon her when she had a stroke some 15 years ago and became paralyzed on her left side, wheel-chair bound, living in a room where she has a view of the parking lot, a bitter reminder of her inability to drive ever again. You want to spare her real family the image, the pain, of seeing that last breath. When her son, your faux ex, comes to relieve you for the next shift of the vigil, you lean in and whisper a goodbye to her, thank her for all her stories.
So, that, up there, your current reality, is why you ate the chips, the cookie(s), the bread, any kind of sweetness you wanted to cram into your mouth until you felt it at the back of your grief-stricken throat; the evil carbs. Why your back has spasmed into pain from stress, and you were content to lie on the couch and read rather than exercising as you should. I wish you could react to stress like a healthy person, take a walk instead of searching out the easy-quick fix, but apparently today is not the day. I forgive you.