Vigil – SUBMISSION

I am thankful for this anon submit who is reminding me to stay in the moment and embrace the power of people who stand by my beliefs. To quote them,

“and when things get bad again,
we’ll be there, together, sitting vigil.”

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of keeping vigil.
Just two weeks ago I sat by my father’s bedside
laying my head on his chest.
They told me they were trying one last thing
but it wasn’t looking good.
I was alone. He already felt so far away.
I might need to sign DNR papers, they said.
He might not make it through the night.
Minutes felt like hours,
an hour was an eternity.
Trying to breathe,
breathing too much.
Chest crushing panic.
Surreal dizziness.
When she finally came,
my mother rocked me.
I held onto her hand as we sat by his side.
And we waited.
Constantly looking at the monitors,
watching the numbers going up, going down,
knowing that with each decrease in the numbers,
the chances got worse and worse
that he would make it through the night.
What’s going on?
Where is everyone?
Why are they looking in here that way?
What’s taking so long?
I hope it doesn’t happen too soon.
I don’t want it to be over too quickly
if it means that something terrible will happen.
Sitting. Waiting.
TV in the background more bizarre than ever.
Why won’t someone turn it off?
Holding hands. Crying. Praying.
Finally one big spike…
and then a drop…
and it was over.

Last night, too, we sat vigil.
Hoping for one last state,
but it wasn’t looking good.
We sat so solemnly.
He could win this, they said.
She may not make it after all.
I don’t think I’ll soon forget
how the minutes became hours.
and hours started to add up
to an eternity of a night.
We were trying to breathe,
breathing too much.
Chest crushing panic.
Surreal dizziness.
Asking ourselves the same questions:
What’s going on?
What’s WRONG with everyone?
How can they be thinking that way?
What’s taking so long?
I hope it doesn’t happen too soon.
I wouldn’t want it to be over too quickly
just for something terrible to happen.
Sitting. Waiting.
Distracting. Checking.
Staring at the walls. Staring at each other.
American priorities more bizarre than ever.
Watching the numbers going up, going down,
blue turning to pale red then red red,
knowing that as some numbers climbed
it made it less and less likely
that we would make it through the night,
through the next four years,
through a lifetime of ripple effect,
of aftershock…
Finally one little nudge,
and it was over.

So I play a dirge, now,
for my father,
for my country.

I try to stay here, now
in this moment,
in this feeling…
because it’s valid.
It’s justified
and it’s real,
and what just happened
is so not.

And in all of this mess,
a mess that feels so hopeless,
so unsolvable,
insurmountable,
I remember how we sat
so quiet,
so still.
I can hang on to gratitude,
knowing that no matter what comes,
when things get better,
and when things get bad again,
we’ll be there, together, sitting vigil.

-Anonymous

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