Last Breathes 

  How much of what we perceive as reality is imaginary and how much is real? Where does the line blur?  What causes it to blur?

  I distictively remember the arguments my parents would have about my 15 year old sister who was missing. She had run away from home and this time she was gone, weeks. I could hear the concern in my parents voice. I was awakened, scared,  listening, my covers up to my chin, wide eyed. 

  The police couldn’t locate my sister and none of her friends would give her up.  I remember the fear in my mothers voice, my father out of sorts, and my brother and I, well we went along for the ride, too young to really understand, but feeling emotions we were both unfamiliar with.

  I don’t know if it was a week or more or the next day, but we drove by a park my sister would frequent and there she was.  She was sitting with a group of friends and had dyed her dark brown hair blond. Lilly seemed to be having a good ol’ time.

  Recollection has it my mom walked up to Lilly and told her she was coming home.  Lilly’s friends were not going to let Lilly leave, so my mom threatened police. Needless to say Lilly came home unrelentingly.

  I idolized Lilly, but she wanted nothing to do with me. I was her 7 year old little sister and she was 15 year old teen.  All I was to her was her bratty younger sister she utterly disliked, and  Mike, he was only 3 at the time.  I have limited memory of him, only because he was so young (3 at the time), we both were in our own right. I can’t speak for Mike, but I was both worried and scared over the instability life had doled out,  but I didn’t know that, I just knew life wasn’t how it should be.

  Lilly ended up being placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment after a few more go arounds of her running away. I remember vaguely going to visit Lilly and eventually her being discharged when the time was right.  However nothing  inbetween sticks out.  At least not until it was decided Lilly would not be coming home, but going to live with grandma in Arizona.  

  It’s as if Lilly disappeared from my existence.  I don’t recall how long the transition was from her moving from home in Illinois, to the next poignant transition, becasue it all blurred together. I just remember being awakened in the middle of the night while my father was at work,. My mom wake me up telling me we were leaving and to grab something to comfort me.  I was 8, and Mike, he was just 4. I can recall being asleep for what seemed like hours in my own bed, and wham!  

  To this day I can recall how alone and empty I felt being force out of my bed and how scared I was not knowing what was happening. We moved in with a friend of my moms that night, she was waiting for us. I recall she lived in an apartment and had no sense of taste or smell.  I also recall her and Mary talking at my feet, while I was asleep on the hidabed one night. Their murmuring conversation coupled with bouts of crying woke me.  The woman had had an abortion some years past and regretted it –  I laid their dead still, scared at what I heard.

  I totally disliked everything about were I was. I didn’t have my father, I didn’t have a room, and I had no friends.  I hated the new school I was at and wished life would go back to how it was.  I missed my old life, I miss my house, and I was utterly alone. As bad as the situation seemed, it was about to get even worse.  None of us could have even imaging the depths of misery we would reach.

My Grandmother called, my mothers mom, in a worried scarred voice, “Mary, its Lilly, you have to come now they don’t know if she will make it.”  Plane tickets were purchase, we were leaving next plane out.  My dad was also flying on the same plane but not with us. I couldn’t even see him.  I was scared, my sister was sick and could die.

  To this day I do not know if we went strait to the hospital or to my Grandmothers house, all I know is we made it to the hospital. I was too young to see Lilly so had to wait in the waiting room.  

 Lilly was in dire, critical condition. She had overdoses on the medication her psychiatrist had prescribed, downing close to 40 pills, it is believed over the course of a few hours. It seems Lilly had called home talking to dad, she wanted to come home and was beside herself.  Dad tried to reassure her this was for the best. To protect her from all the stress of the pending divorce between him and my mom, but in time she could come home, but not now.

  Lilly was heading to a school dance that night with a friend. The friends mom was concerned with how weird Lilly was acting, thinking she was on drugs.  If it wasn’t for her friends mom finding out what happened and taking Lilly to the hospital she would have died.  Upon entering the doors of the emergency room. Lilly commented, “I dont feel so good.” She dropped to the ground unconsciences, suffering four heart attacks, multiple  convulsions, complete organ failure and becoming comatosed. By the time her stomach was pumped the damage had been done and Lilly wasn’t expected to make it.  

  There is nothing as disconcerting as seeing your sister, eyes open, tubes in and out of her body and her skin a waxy yellowish color.  The machines making unsettling  sounds, so horrific and unnatural it seems like a nightmare. The entire united smelled of death and dieing.   

  My reality no longer made sense. It’s as if I no longer existed and I didn’t know how to cope. My world, the way I saw it, became a blurred reality of uncertainty when I was finally able to see my sister.  What was life coming to, what horrors was she going through. At 9 you have no idea. I don’t think you ever really do.  And reality?  It seemed there was no such thing, especially when you have a plate full of uncertainty.  


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