The Phone Call

Vonda Menard

The phone rang. I answered hoping it was the cute boy from my history class. The voice on the other end was a familiar one, my stepfather. Strange, him calling me at school. It was usually my mother who called. There was a moment of silence before he spoke. "Hi Vonda, its Kevin." He said it as if I didn't know. "Your mother is in the hospital."

I asked, "Is she going to be okay?"

"I don't know, she's in there now with the doctors. We were coming home from work and she started throwing up and passed out." His voice began to tremble and he said he had to go. I told him to call me as soon as he found out more information.

I hung up the phone and thought about what was just said. Never once did I think my mother was in any great danger. A half-hour passed and the phone rang again. I picked it up on the first ring. "Vonda, you better get to the hospital as soon as you can." That was all my stepfather could manage to say.

Soon my Uncle Charles was on the phone. "Vonda, you better get down here, your mother has an aneurysm and it burst." "Aneurysm? What the hell is that?" My uncle said he was coming to get me and the phone went dead. I continued to hold it to my ear, not noticing or caring that no one was on the other end. I sat down on my bed wondering what the hell just happened.

Before I knew it my uncle was knocking on my door. I tried to look at his eyes to see if they would reveal how bad my mother was. I couldn't tell anything, which made me feel good. I figured if it was bad I could tell. So off we went to the hospital. I couldn't wait to see my mother and tell her how much I loved her. She had taken care of me for 20 years. I looked forward to repaying her.

My uncle spoke the whole time. I'm not sure what he was saying, I just watched the signs, knowing we were getting closer to the hospital with each passing sign. When we were finally in the parking garage, I nearly jumped out of the car before we stopped. I caught myself and waited with my hand on the door handle. Before my uncle could take the key out of the ignition I was out of the car and headed into the hospital. I didn't know where I was going. I just knew I had to get there, get to my mother.

As I looked around the hospital not knowing where to go, I heard my uncle say we had to go up the elevator to the third floor. When the elevator doors opened I couldn't move. Suddenly I was too afraid. My mother didn't deserve this. She had been through enough in her short life. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes tight so the tears had nowhere to go.

Walking down the hall I realized I was the last person to arrive at the hospital. My grandmother was there, my aunt, my uncles. The only one I didn't see in the hallway was my brother. Everyone was saying hello to me. I didn't respond. As I passed my grandmother, she said she didn't want me to go into the room. I told myself it couldn't be that bad, my mother is a strong woman.

I walked into the room and saw my brother standing there alone. I looked at him while I made my way into the room. I didn't look at my mother until I was standing next to my brother. I could see he had been crying and I turned around and fell into my brother's arms. There were so many tubes coming out of her mouth and head. This couldn't be happening. My brother tried to carry me out of the room. I gathered myself and told him I was staying. I sat on the bed holding my mother's hand and talking to her. "Hi Mom, I'm here. You're going to be okay." I looked at her face, hoping that she would open her eyes and look at me and smile and tell me how much she loved me.

The next two weeks, that hospital room was my home. I wouldn't leave. Even when the doctors said there was nothing else they could do for her, I wouldn't leave her. I didn't want her to be alone. So it was just her and me. Everyone else had stopped coming, they said they couldn't take it anymore. As we sat there, I told her how much I loved her and how proud I was to be her daughter. I took her hand one last time and told her it was okay. I told her she could let go, that everything would be all right. There were a couple of times she almost flat-lined but then she would come back. Even in the end she was strong. She wouldn't die while I was there. I kissed her goodnight and told her I would see her tomorrow. The next morning I received the call, she had passed.

Two weeks later I had a dream about my mother. She called to tell me that she was fine and I didn't have to worry about her. I kept telling her I loved her because I never got a chance to say it before she died. She told me she loved me too. I'm not sure what to make of my dream but if anyone could manage to send a message from the after life, it would be my mother.

© Vonda Menard

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