It’s 11:11 and my father is wishing for his hands to work. Disease eats at his flesh tearing his nerves to pieces like vultures picking apart his muscles- google defines ALS as A nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. He defines it as dying. he is dying, and he knows this. Fingers that aren’t dying shouldn’t shrivel into themselves like husks of wasps nests. People who aren’t dying should be able to talk and breathe but all he can see is that there is nothing left here for him, not even his body. Not even a blood trail.
It’s 11:11 and my mother is wishing for his life. There’s something endless about the hope of loving mothers. She cannot recall the last time she slept well, it’s been weeks and she’s weak and shaking and small. Her back’s against the wall and he can’t tell her that he loves her anymore.
But that doesn’t matter to someone with that much trust inside of her. She wishes for him and she doesn’t know he’s dying, not like he does. She wishes so hard steel tears leak from steel-lined eyes as she watches his muscles wither away and she feeds him through a tube.
It’s 11:11 and i’m in my room, wishing for backbone. I swore to god, to him that i’d be strong for them, and part of me knows I’m doing it wrong but then i realize i’m not sure how much more of this i can take, this isolation this separation from everything i see and I'm stranded. My mother functions as a nurse and not a mother and my father functions as a corpse and not a father. I know he is dying in the same way he does, i was always closest with him. I knew he was dying and i couldn’t even look at him anymore because i was sick of all the grief coming from everyone’s pores like sweat on a mid-july day and i was tired and grave and wishing for death and --
Beth. beth, my little sister, it’s 11:11 and she is asleep. She’s ten, and it’s past her bedtime, and she dreams she’s a knight and is saving our father, she dreams she’s a doctor and just found a cure, she dreams she is a girl and her father is not dying. The next night she comes into my room and she is crying because she doesn’t understand what’s happening to him and she’s so small standing there in my doorway, looking more ghost than girl, and she’s desolate. She falls asleep in my bed and i pick her up and take her to her room and tuck her in just like he used to.
By the time i get back to my room, it’s 11:12