Friday, April 26, 2013

Do You Know?

Do you know?

I realize how I must sound.  Throwing around the word futility like a game of dominoes, I slam the last piece onto the table defiantly.  You glare.

She's not your mother!

I want to shake you.  Of course she is.  They are all my mothers, sisters, and brothers. My father who died when I was ten and my grandmother who waited for me to drive from St. Louis before drawing her last breath.

I won't escape unscathed.  My birthright is to experience the allotted measure of human grief.  But I'll lose your mother too, and thousands more.  Sadness will be my daily companion, collateral damage from the oath I so naively took all those years ago.

Sometimes I sit in bed after being awoken by your mother's nurse.  I stare at the ceiling and listen to the walls exhale deeply.  I dream that when I die the spirits of my deceased patients will come to greet me.  A parade of old and young, angelic and bruised.  They shake their hands over their heads, and I can't discern whether they are clenching their fists in anger, or signalling affably.

I know, for better or worse, the consequences of my actions.

Do you?

Do you know?

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