When I Look at You

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Chapter Twenty Two

Blaine hadn’t even parked the truck before I jumped out of it. My feet pounded the pavement as I sprinted towards the house. Dad saw me before I reached them and he jumped off the porch, grabbing me. “What happened?” I asked, feeling the tears form behind my eyes. Blaine ran up behind us.

“She fainted. The paramedics are just taking her to the hospital to check her out and make sure everything is okay.” Behind him, I saw Mom laying in the stretcher. She had an oxygen mask on and her eyes fluttered open and closed. The paramedics were doing things to her with different gadgets. Blaine gripped my shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly.

“Can I go with her?” I asked.

“I’ll drive you guys.” Blaine said. Dad nodded. He jogged up the porch to tell Tammy. They loaded Mom up in the ambulance and drove off. The three of us climbed into Blaine’s truck and followed them.

At the hospital, Mom was taken into the emergency room department and given a room. Blaine, Dad and I were told to wait in the waiting room until they were done with all their tests. I paced the floor while I waited, occasionally glancing up the hallway towards where they had taken her. About an hour later, a doctor appeared. She was a middle aged Indian woman with a soft round face and dark hair. She smiled at me when I looked up. “Are you Lynn’s family?”

“Yes.” I said. Dad stood and walked over to stand by me.

“She’s fine. She just got a little winded and fainted. She wants to see you.” The doctor led the three of us back into the ER holding area to a little room where Mom was sitting in a hospital bed. An oxygen tube was in her nose, balanced between that and her upper lip. She smiled at us when we entered. “I’ll leave you to visit. I’m going to work on your discharge papers, Lynn, but remember what we spoke about.”

“I will.” My mom said, waving as the doctor left.

“What was that about?” I asked, sitting in the chair next to her bed. She shot a glance at my father who nodded. He pulled up a chair next to me.

“Kid, I sometimes wish you weren’t as smart as you are.” He said.

“What’s going on?”

“Kerri, there is no easy way to say this so I’m just going to tell you.” My mom said, sitting up the best she could with the oxygen. “About a year ago, I had a really bad cold. I thought it had turned into pneumonia because it wasn’t going away so I went to the doctor. That’s when they found the mass in my lung. They told me that it was too big to operate on and wanted to try radiation to shrink it. I did for a while and it did shrink but then six months ago, it came back in both lungs this time. That’s when your dad and I decided to have the fake court order. I hated lying to you but I couldn’t face getting treatment again behind your back. It took so much out of me. Well about three weeks after you left, I went back for another check up. The cancer spread some more. Now it’s in my lungs, stomach and brain.”

“So now what? You get more chemo?” I asked. Hot tears brimmed my eyes. Hers also filled with tears. It felt as though someone was hanging me over a bottomless pit just waiting to drop.

“No, honey. There’s no more treatment options for me. The doctors say I don’t have very long. A month maybe. That’s why you came down here this summer to get to know your father. I couldn’t stand leaving you with someone you didn’t really know after I’m gone.”

“What?” I asked, standing up. “No. You can’t be dying.” Tears streamed down my face as Blaine placed a hand on my back.

“I know this is hard but it’s true. That’s why we’re moving down here. I found a nice hospice facility down here that will help with things once I get too sick to be home. I’ll be on oxygen from now on too.”

“This can’t be happening.”

“I’m sorry, Kerri, but it is.”

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