Waiting for another chance

for my Uncle

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We called him Uncle, even though he was really our great, great uncle.  Everytime I’d see him he would say “Ohh, how are you??” with his hand shaking in the air and his voice sounding so happy to see me. He always had a big smile on his face and never seem to be anything but happy. He was special.

A month ago, he got sick.

Now, he’s a tall man, broad, short little beard, white hair, hearing aids, but with it, happy, and around 80 years old. But the next thing you know he’s in the hospital with tubes everywhere, his mouth filled with more tubes, so he is unable to talk. He lost so much weight just laying there, helplessly.  His wife is a cute little lady, everytime you see her she’d says “Ohh, how are you??” with her hands reaching to your cheek, always with a smile. Now, I see her repeatedly calling her husbands name, trying to get him to make any sort of moment, lift a finger, answer her, look somewhat alive. Anything. There is so much desperation in her voice, so much pain in it, and a deep sadness because she cannot do anything. She doesn’t know if he’s uncomfortable, she doesn’t know if he needs something.  They tried getting him to write what he wanted to say but one hand is just so swollen he couldn’t even if he tried.

I went to go see him. I hate hospitals. I went and felt weak to my knees when I saw him. No more smiles, no more “Ohh, how are you??” He couldn’t even lift his hand to shake it around. He barely held his head up. When I looked into his eyes it was as if they were screaming for help. I saw the blood bag on the floor and it took everything in me to not pass out. People came in. Talked loud, as if he couldn’t hear. He could, you just couldn’t tell.

Then my grandfather came in. There are best friends since 16. They talk on the phone every day. When he said his name and gave him a kiss on his head you could just see his chest beating faster, he got so excited, there was no facial reaction but his eyes, his body, it was as if he was talking.

Tonight we get a call, they are waiting for my grandfather. They don’t think he’s going to get better, something is just not right. So we’re all here and we are just waiting. Waiting to see if he will stay with us and fight or if he has no more strength to continue. Waiting to see if maybe he can just say “Ohh, how are you??” one more time.

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