The most painful thing you can watch happen to someone else.
I would know; my grandmother is dying with me in her arms.
“I . . . I love . . .” Then that is it. She is dead. I watch as the light leaves her eyes.
A few minutes pass as my eyes start to well with tears and I try to understand what has just happened. “Mom!” My voice cracks. “Get in here! She’s dead! Grandma’s dead!” The warm tears start to stream down my face.
My mom comes running in and pulls Grandma’s arms off of me. I can’t get the feeling of her cold, lifeless body out of my system. My mom pulls me away from Grandma.
“Go call 911. Go!” My mother sounds panicky and is obviously frightened by her mother’s sudden death. It is all upon her shoulders because my dad is at work 24/7 and I am only twelve. There is nothing I can do but run and get the paramedics in here, possibly save Grandma. Fifteen minutes after death, they can still save us. So I dial the number.
A lady picks up almost immediately. “911. What is your emergency?”
“My grandmother just died,” I say, sniffing loudly.
“Where are you?” I tell her without any delay.
“The paramedics are on their way.” I hear a satisfying click and I know that there is still hope for Grandma.
I go back and see Grandma. The limp body that lies in the chair is pale. She is dead, lifeless, and strangely beautiful, all at the same time.
“Are the doctors coming?” my mother asks urgently.
“Yes,” I say. “A lady said that they’d be here shortly.”
Right as I say this, the paramedics come bursting through the door of Grandma’s small apartment.
“How long has it been?” a tall, burly man with five o’clock shadow asks me franticly.
“I . . . I don’t know,” I stutter. “I think only about six or seven minutes.”
“Hurry, men,” he says, motioning for them to follow with a thickly haired arm.
They come in with water, a stretcher, something called a defibrillator, and a bunch of other medicines and tools that I cannot identify. I’ve never seen them bring someone back to life, but I can tell that it is a long, hard process already.
“Please step into the hall,” the man says gently. The way he gestures to the door makes me feel safer. “This may take a few minutes. Just don’t worry about it.”
My mom and I step into the hall without saying a word. A minute passes. Then two. The man does not come back out.
“What do you think they’re doing in there?” I ask my mom. “Do you think Grandma’s alive?” I have hope in my voice even though I feel no hope.
“I . . . I don’t know.” My mother sounds hazy, as if she isn’t really here with me. “I don’t think the Saviors can bring her back. I think that she was . . .” My mom doesn’t want to say it, and I don’t make her.
“I know,” I say sadly. She means that Grandma was . . . well, under . . . for more than fifteen minutes. She thinks that Grandma may be gone for good, and I don’t doubt her for a second. I want Grandma to stay with us, but . . . I guess life doesn’t last forever.
A few more minutes pass as we sit in complete silence, wondering what’s happening in there. Finally, the man comes back out.
The look on his face says everything. It says he’s sad and forlorn; upset and mad; just plain unhappy. I can’t stand to look at him.
“I . . . I am . . . so sorry,” he finally manages to choke out. “We d-did all . . . that we could.” I have never seen a grown man cry, and I thought I never would. As the tears slide down his face, I can tell that he has never let anyone down. He’s always brought the people back to life. I guess this time he wasn’t so lucky.
My mom and I cautiously walk back into the room. Some of the Saviors are crowded around a stretcher. I can tell they are forlorn just by their postures. We both walk to the armchair and look at Grandma’s face. She does not move a muscle.
I am suddenly choked up with so many emotions that the whole world around me becomes a big blur, but I finally let enough sense through to realize something: The inevitable has finally happened, and there is no point in crying because that will do no good. A sob escapes my lips as I realize that Grandma is gone forever.