Letting Go...!!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
..it's a little rushed at the end.. But I still hope you guys like it..

Submitted: July 16, 2011

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Submitted: July 16, 2011

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It’s hard having lost one daughter, and be on the verge of losing another. It’s hard coping with the fact; the truth that is staring you in the face but you keep denying it. It’s hard to let go. But I wasn’t about to give in. I was going to fight till the very end. I was going to deny fate, and give my daughter the life that she truly deserved. I wasn’t going to let her die too soon.

"Mom, could you pass the sauce?" she spoke.

I smiled to her gently. "Yes, honey!" I pushed the sauce near her outstretched trembling hand.

"The pizza’s good, isn’t it?" I said.

"Yes! You’re getting very good. Daddy, won’t you like another?"

"Love to, baby!" Arthur smiled at her.

We weren’t going to show her our scars. We weren’t going to let her know how scared we were, or that our marriage was falling part because of her sickness; because she was going to die! In front of her, we were going to pretend that we’re one small happy family, that Arthur and I are still in love, and that we weren’t afraid. And especially that we didn’t blame each other for what happened five years ago!

"Daddy has to go now honey. He has got loads of work at office." Arthur kissed her forehead. "I’ll be back soon, love!"

"Okay! Bye daddy!" she smiled.

Arthur and I exchanged a pretend warn hug, and he picked up his briefcase and walked out of the room. A kiss cost too much.

"So, what are we reading today?" I snuggled up to my daughter on her bed.

"I’m not up for it today. Can’t we go out, Mom?" Lizzie asked.

"Not today sweetie. You know what the doctor said."

"But it has been weeks since you last took me to the park. Can’t we sneak out?" her eyes glowed with the twinkles of childhood mischievousness. I laughed at my little daughter.

"No, we cannot! So it’s either a book or you’re sleeping." I ran my fingers in her soft hair.

"A story’s better then." She sighed.

How easily she gave up! If only she had kept on asking me, I would have taken her to the park. She just needed to ask. But she gave in too soon, just like she was giving in to her cancer. I wish she hadn’t taken this from her father; the ability to just give in! He had given up on Alexis too, he pulled the tubes that held her onto this world, that kept her breathing, and I could never forgive him for that.

It was late evening when Arthur finally returned to the hospital. I stayed with Lizzie in the mornings till evenings, and Arthur had the night shifts. It was hard for us as we both worked, but with our only daughter at the end of her time, we didn’t care about the rest of the world. She needed us. We had to be there for her; we had to be with her.

"Go home and get some rest. I’m here with Liz." He said,

Kissing my sleeping daughter goodbye, I walked out without as much as a side glance towards my husband.

A warm shower helped. It melted the tears that fell from my eyes. I stepped in my bathrobes and went to the living room. Living in a penthouse helped too. Sometimes it hid you from the eyes of your neighbors, and as I sat on the balcony I relished this fact. The other buildings around ours were smaller and we had the perfect view from where we lived. It was peaceful up there; quiet!

I still had e-mails to send to the doctors around the United States of America, asking for their help, their advice on my daughter’s case. I didn’t care about how much it cost, I didn’t care about how expensive the doctor might be. I just needed my girl to live, and not leave us too soon like her sister did. Nothing could ever be worse than a parent outliving his child. We survived after Alexis’s death because we still had Lizzie. But now…

I forwarded my request to twenty different doctors around America; they were al I knew of that were good enough to save my daughter. I hope God had put a miracle in at least one of their hands.

Any sleep was rare, and when I did get to, I always had bad dreams. So how do you stop dreaming?

I slept badly that night as well. I dreamed of my daughter and myself in the park, and then Alexis came. She held her hand out to Lizzie and took her away. I woke up screaming. Could I hate Alexis for taking Lizzie away?

When I reached the hospital, I found Arthur sitting on the chair with his head resting on the edge of Elizabeth’s bed. He was holding her tiny hand. For a fleeting moment, I wanted to go near him. For a fleeting moment…

He stirred and ruined everything. Taking a deep breath, I went and stood near him.

"Arthur, wake up!" I said to him.

When he opened his eyes and looked at me, I could clearly see the dark circles around them. He looked like a mess. I wished them that I could ‘feel’ for him, that I could share his pain. But I couldn’t. He must bear his own pain and I my own.

"Your turn to get rest." I said.

He slowly stood up and looked at Lizzie. Something made him smile for a while.

"How’d you sleep?" he asked.

"Not too good. You?"

"Same." He turned to pick up his coat and briefcase. He had come straight to the hospital after work.

"Listen, uh, Lizzie wants us both with her tonight. Can you manage?" he asked.

"Can you?"

He stared at me with a broken look and then quietly walked out. I turned away from the door, didn’t want him to see the tears that were just about to come out.

I took Lizzie to the park in the afternoon. She hadn’t even asked. And she was surprised when I asked for her wheelchair. Lizzie couldn’t walk. Her cancer had forbidden her from walking. I helped my daughter into it, and took the handles. I could see her glowing in excitement as I pushed her out of the hospital. She smiled widely, wished everyone who passed her a very good afternoon. And the moment we stepped out in the air, she inhaled the fresh air deeply, like she had been freed from a cage.

"It’s beautiful today, isn’t it Mom?" she said.

"Yes!" I nodded.

She threw her hand back for a moment and let the sun wash over her face.

"Mom, how longer are you and Daddy going to pretend that everything’s okay?" she asked after a while.

"What do you mean, sweetie?"

"It’s not hard to see you are falling apart." She almost whispered.

"Lizzie, listen to me, sometimes things just happen that you have no control over. Sometimes a relationship suffers but that does not mean it’s going to end."

"Can you make a promise?"

"Anything, honey"

"At least just tonight, just for one night, fall in love with Daddy again."

"You cannot fall in love with a person just like that" I smiled at her.

"Just for one night Mom" she begged.

"Okay, okay. We’ll see about that."

By late evening, Arthur and I were both at her side, holding on to her hands. He smiled at me more than usual, and I wondered if Lizzie had made the same request as she made me this afternoon. On her request, we sang Christmas carols in September, watched her favorite movie and told her for the hundredth time how Arthur and I had met and fallen in love. I wondered where she was trying to lead this all.

As we put Lizzie to sleep, she smiled at us and hugged us.

"I love you!" she said.

"We love you too, sweetie!" Arthur kissed her cheek.

Still smiling, Lizzie closed her eyes.

"She looks so peaceful" I murmured, running my fingers in her hair after Lizzie had gone to sleep.

"Yeah, she doesn’t seem to be in pain tonight!" Arthur said.

I turned to look at my husband. Sensing my stare, he turned towards me and smiled.

"In three hours, you can drop your act" I said. "Or you can drop it now if you want. She’s asleep."

"No, I think I’ll keep my promise." He winked playfully. "Why do you think she wanted us together tonight?"

"I don’t know. Whatever she wanted, I don’t think it is working!"

"Will it ever work, Cynthia?"

"If-if she goes away-never!"

Arthur turned away with the same defeated look in his eyes. It was hard to believe he still had hope.

"We can live our whole lives blaming each other for what happened. Till our last breaths we can hate each other. But one night-for one night you couldn’t pretend you were in love with me? Not even for Lizzie?"

"I tried, Arthur."

"No you didn’t. You didn’t try Cynthia because the ghost of Alexis is still haunting you."

"And whose fault is that? Whose fault it is that Alexis is gone?"

"See? All you can do is blame. Blame me for what happened, when it wasn’t me who let her take the car."

"How was I supposed to know she’d get high with her friends?"

"She was a teen-ager. That’s what they do. How could you be so careless?"

"At least it wasn’t me who pulled the plug!" I cried. "You did!"

"She wasn’t going to make it."

"How did you know? Maybe she would have."

"She wouldn’t have, Cynthia. Can’t you just learn to let go?"

"No!" I cried.

"She was my daughter, Arthur. How could I let go?" Tears fell like streams and I turned away from him.

"She was mine too!"

"Well, I’m not going to lose Lizzie. I’ve contacted the best doctors in America and they’ve agreed to help. You don’t have to help with the finances if you don’t want, I can manage that."

"And why wouldn’t I want to help with the finances?"

"I assumed you couldn’t afford Alexis’s-"

"Alexis was half dead when they pulled her out of the wreckage of the car, woman, can’t you get that?"

Arthur shouted.

"She was still breathing when you made your decision."

"How long d’you think she could’ve? For how long could we put her in pain?"

"She had a chance-"

"If she ever had one, she had a crippled, colorless life ahead of her. She wouldn’t have remembered us even."

"Who do you keep saying that? Why couldn’t you just believe? Why couldn’t you have faith?"

"Faith in what, Cynthia? In those Hands that took away my daughter from me? That are about to take another? I even lost you."

"I’m not going to let Lizzie go."

"Tell that to God!"

A heavy silence fell in the room and all we could hear was the beeping of the machine indicating Lizzie’s heart beat and her soft breathing. Tell that to God! Tell God what? That I couldn’t defeat Him? That I was powerless in front of Him? That no matter what I do, how much I try, if it’s written, Lizzie has to go now… that I lose and he won?

What hope did I have? Who was I kidding when I said I wouldn’t let Lizzie go? She wasn’t mine to keep. She was God’s angel. He must miss her so much that He had to have her back.

"So much for keeping my promise, huh?" Arthur sighed.

That made me smile. "Well, you never were really good at keeping promises."

"How many doctors did you contact?" Arthur asked.

"About twenty. Six have agreed. They will be coming in the next couple of hours." I replied. "It could however take a day or two."

"Lizzie’s a fighter. She’ll be alright till then. We can wait."

"No, she’s not a fighter." I shook my head sadly.

Unexpectedly, Arthur’s hand cupped over mine. I stared up at him. This was the first sign of comfort he had shown to me in years.

"Well, this time I’m going to believe" he smiled.

Lizzie opened her eyes in the morning to her smiling parents. We were somehow finally at peace with each other. I don’t think we had forgiven each other, but we were ready to let go of it a little. Maybe something did work last night. Maybe just talking had helped.

"Can you both stay today?" Lizzie asked us.

"Of course, honey. We’re right here." I told her.

"Thank you for the Christmas carols last night. It was fun" she laughed.

We laughed with her. It felt wonderful to see her so happy, so much at peace. The magic of last night had filled her with a new life, a new zest for living. That evening we took turns reading poetry to her. There was a new strength in her hands. They trembled a lot less and her grip was better. Her smiles were prettier, and there was some color in her pale cheeks.

So was I winning?

By night I got a call from Dr. Angel Spirit; one of the doctors I had contacted. She had reached New Jersey in the evening and was going to come to the hospital tomorrow morning. Arthur and I saw a ray of hope.

Arthur- it felt good somehow to be in his company again, to laugh with him again, and share what little joy we could. Was it this easy? Was it this easy to forget our grudges and make peace again? Why did it take us so long?

So if I was feeling this, then did it mean I had already forgiven him? But I still blamed him, even if he was right, I still blamed him. What had happened last night? What changed?

Lizzie peacefully closed her eyes again that night. We whispered words of love and affection in her ears as she swept away into the world of dreams. There was contentment on her face; a belief that everything was going to be alright. Arthur and I began to believe that too. We were all going to make it.

But Lizzie didn’t! it was near dawn when she stopped breathing.

Surprisingly there were lesser tears from me and Arthur. There wasn’t a disbelief in our eyes. This had to happen. Dr. Angel Spirit was a few hours too late.

And then we understood the contentment on our daughter’s face the night she dies. She was content because it was all going to be alright, but not for her. She knew it was going to be alright between Arthur and me. She knew that we were going to make it.

This time, I learned to let go. I let my daughter go. She was at peace with it, why couldn’t I be for her?

There’s nothing worse than a parent outliving his child. Arthur and I lost both our children. It was hard. It hurt. But this was life! And we could not question it.

This time there weren’t any blames. There weren’t any fights between Arthur and me. This time it was no one’s fault. Maybe we had to lose our daughter to come together. Maybe that was the price we had to pay.

So we paid the price. So we came together!

We went back to work and to the life we had been denying for five years, since Alexis died. We thought of our daughters every day, we talked about them every day, we missed them every day. And that only brought us closer. Out of all this, I learned that maybe holding on every time wasn’t the answer. Sometimes it is okay to just let go. You cannot question destiny, you cannot deny fate.

Lizzie brought us back the life that Alexis took away from us. It’s not always a new life that brings hope. Sometimes it’s losing one that makes you understand.

It has been eight years since Lizzie’s death. My relationship with my husband is going strong. There’s a new commitment between us we both respect; a new strength in our bond; a different understanding that we share. Because we know what the other has been through. We had lost enough; we weren’t going to lose each other too.

Arthur and I never had a child again. Maybe we became afraid that if we did, we’d lose that one too. But that didn’t matter; we had each other. And that was enough for both of us. We became one small happy family.

 

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The End.

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