Rainbow Death

Daily Prompt: Roy G. Biv

by michelle w. on January 7, 2014

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image.

Husband’s Papa died yesterday at six. I don’t have any family other than a friend I consider blood, so Papa has been my grandfather for the past three years as well.

We have faithfully visited Grandma and Papa regularly ever since I met Joshua. Watching his slow decline has been painful, but even though we knew it was coming, death still hit us off guard.

I have been wading through a sea of repressed memories flooding back to me concerning parts of the abuse with which I haven’t acknowledged. I’m on weekly visits with Mary. We were in her office yesterday at the clinic. I was having a break down. Josh gets a call. He leaves the room. He comes back in and says, “He’s dying right now. We have to take Grandma.” Mary scribbles the prescription for my new medicine, passes it to me, and sends me off with a hug and a ‘love you’. And I said I love her too. I do.

I ran right past the car on my way out the door. Ran back around and climbed in the car. Josh is trying to hold it together. He’s speeding as fast as he can, but of course, we hit every red light. He keeps getting calls from his sister crying and he can hear people moaning in the background, “He’s dying! He’s dying!” It doesn’t seem real.

At grandma’s house, I jump out of the car and run to her door. I ring the doorbell. She’s home alone. She doesn’t answer. Josh rings. She doesn’t answer. The door swings open suddenly and she, with wig askew, clutches Joshua in her arms and cries a cry that is so tired it sounds more like heavy breathing. “I just can’t believe it,” she cries. We sandwich her between us in a hug. She goes back to the bathroom and gathers herself. We take her car and head out to the nursing home. Papa had just been transferred there from the hospital for hospice that morning.

The drive there seemed an hour long. Every minute watching those orange digital numbers flick on the car clock felt like ten minutes. Grandma kept exclaiming that it didn’t seem real. Her phone rings. She answers. “He died.”

That moment is frozen.

She says it so naturally. Josh is not jolted by this exclamation. I don’t feel like I deserve to react when those two are staying so strong. But after listening to the conversation, I realize that Josh and Grandma already knew. Somewhere in our communication, ‘died’ became ‘dying’.

We get to the home. Climb out of the car. Josh takes one of her hands; I take the other. We walk her through the doors and down the hall, and it hurts. I don’t know what to say but, “It’ll be okay.” At his room, the usually open door is closed. We push it open. I see a room full of people, but the faces that stick out are Mike, my father-in-law, crying. My brother-in-law, Jarrod, crying. These men I never expected to see crying. And then as I look around the room I see face after face of my husband’s family, the family I see as my own, in tears. They all cry out when they see her go and clutch his yellowing, dead hands.

Every time I see a dead body, I flashback to a funeral I attended three years ago when I first met Josh. The girl was a friend I had known since early childhood. She hung herself in the tree under which we used to wait for bus for years. The funeral was open casket. And her eighteen-year-old neck still had rope marks.

To be continued… Maybe.