Title

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Summary

Some battles are won, others are lost.

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A tear drop rolled down his cheeks as he tenderly looked at the face of his little sister. He held her hands with his own grasping them tightly as if letting them go would cease her life immediately. How had it come to this? Why did death target the ones so young and full of life? A sob escaped him and he bowed his face into his hands. Some battles are won; some are lost. This was another victory for death. Another soul robbed. "Monica..." he whispered tenderly, praying she would open her eyes one last time. "Please wake up..."

But he knew the battle was well and truly lost. Monica's battle with cancer heavily depended on a bone marrow transplant, but unfortunately the donated marrow was rejected. The doctors informed Max there was nothing they could do to save her life. Hearing the devastating news was like taking a bullet to the head. Who was he going to watch over now? Who was going to watch him? The realization he would never experience another day with Monica had sunk in and it tore his heart to pieces.

Monica was no longer youthful and exuberant. Her skin had paled dramatically, all colour drained from her face. Her lips were a shade of blue and her hands were now blotchy and purplish. Her muscles had wasted away as a result of lost appetite and her eyes were devoid of colour, staring up at the ceiling glassy and fixed. Her body was cool to touch; death was close.

The rest of his friends stood silently in the dreary hospital room. Michelle was seated to Monica's right, hunched over and crying. Ivan sat at Michelle's side and consoled her with a light hug. In the far corner of the room stood Alexander, listlessly gazing at Monica a sad expression on his face. His brilliant blue eyes peered at her hoping she would regain consciousness. Steven sat near Max, his hands nervously resting on his lap. "...I can't take this anymore..." Michelle sobbed, burying her head into Ivan's chest. "It isn't fair!"

Ivan embraced her in a warm hug and let her cry. It was hard to watch a friend die. His steel blue eyes focused on Max. Would the big man pull through? Max devoted his entire life trying to find a way to save Monica's life. Seeing the result of his many years of hard work fall apart before him must be difficult. "Would you like to get some air Michelle?" Ivan asked softly.

Michelle sniffed and nodded. With Ivan's help she picked herself up from the bedside chair and followed her captain out of the room. All was quiet except for the heavy sounds of breathing from Monica. Her ragged breathing increased in intensity as the minutes slowly passed. Max closed his eyes unable to watch his sister struggle. He could not comprehend the pain she was going through, but he wished he could take her place instead. "If I could I would take the pain for you," he spoke softly in between gentle sobs.

Alexander took the vacant seat and took one of Monica's hands into his own. Expressing emotion other than anger and rage wasn't something of habit, but he did not strive to stop tears from trailing down his cheeks. He had not known Monica for very long, but he knew she was truly a gifted, talented individual who deserved a chance to live and fulfil her dreams.

"The fight with cancer... you inspired me to continue fighting when all hope seemed lost," Max said. "I thought of you and the battle you fought; it pales in comparison to what I am fighting," he added, referring to the fight with the bullies at school. He paused to recollect himself, wiping away tears. Taking in a deep breath he continued. "You gave me strength." His speech ended there as an overwhelming flood of powerful emotion overcame him. His huge build shook as a result of his sobs.

Steven stood up from his chair and left the room without a word. He had not shed a tear, but Alexander suspected he was doing everything he could to prevent showing a form of emotion. Ivan re-entered the room without Michelle at his side. "Michelle's joining Steven for a hot drink to calm herself down," Ivan responded. Alexander nodded understandingly.

Max forced himself to regain composure as he opened his eyes and looked at Monica. He placed his hand against her face tenderly stroking it, tears streaming down his face. "I love you with all my heart Monica," he said, struggling to fight back tears. "You are my shining ray of light, my rock and my saviour. You'll join the angels up in the Heavens above," he added. He brought his head towards Monica's face and placed a kiss on her forehead.

Laboured breathing from Monica increased in volume, her fragile body quivering with each breathe. It was unbearable to watch. Michelle and Steven re-entered the room and stood by Max's side. At the sight of Monica's weakened body, Michelle burst into tears again using Steven's toga sleeve as a tissue. "Why are the fates so cruel?" she whimpered.

"It'll soon be over," Alexander mumbled. "At least she'll be in a better place."

Several more minutes of painful waiting passed by as they continued to watch Monica's battle come to an end. One of the nurses entered the room and waited for the final breath. Max's hands never lessened their grip on her hands. She could not feel him, nor see but he held onto the hope she could hear him. "I know you can hear me Monica; I will always love you." Monica took in another breath and slowly breathed out. The intervals in between breaths were increasing indicating the final moment of living would soon be over.

Her final breath came and a sense of peace overtook her features. "It's over, she's passed on," Alexander said. An eerie silence; no one spoke, no one even moved as the event slowly began to register in their minds. Monica was gone. Lost forever. She was now in a better place watching over them.

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Emotional writing is not my area of expertise, but I tried hard to make this realistic as possible and tried to capture the intense emotions we experience when watching a loved one die.