‘How is she doing doctor’ I asked.
‘We put her in the ventilator and did what we could do. She had a massive stroke and there is little anyone can do in this situation’ he replied and left.
How could this happen to me…. I tried to make sense of the events that took place during past few hours. But my mind was blank and I couldn’t think of anything. Only thing I knew was that for the first time in my life, I felt utterly helpless. She was the only mother I knew and I am not sure if I ever be able to talk to her again. I should have stayed home with her today instead of going out. Maybe she felt what was going to happen and wanted me to leave..but didn’t she know that I’ll be alone without her? My mind went on circles. It was Jerome’s parents (Uncle Derek and aunty Sitha) who helped me move mamma’s body into the car when I ran into their place. We drove to Ragama hospital. Aunty Sitha was holding me all the time until Jerome showed up at the hospital. Aunty Sitha, for her age looked remarkably young but Uncle Derek has aged a lot in past few years. Jerome rarely spoke about what is going on with his family, but I know his parents loved him so much. When we were in the hospital Asitha and Shamalie came. No one spoke but I felt everyone was waiting for me to break the silence.
‘I should call Hashini and Sajith’ I said. Everyone seems to agree.
I was able to get hold of Hashini and told her what happened. There was no answer from Sajith’s phone so I left him a voice massage. Hasini said she we’ll be taking next flight to Colombo.
‘Let me see if I can talk to the doctor and get some more information’ said Asitha.
After a while he came back. I knew he was not carrying good news from the way he walked towards us. Instead of coming to me, he went straight to Jerome’s parents and started a long conversation. I didn’t have the courage to interrupt them, so I just stayed seated. Jerome was holding my hand and his face tucked into my shoulders. It felt like eternity. After a while, uncle Derek came to me.
‘So what the doctors are saying is your ‘mother’ has gone into a coma because of the damage to the brain. She is been kept alive by the ventilator. Maybe we should all go home now and come again tomorrow. Randika, do you know what time Hashini is going to be here?
‘I don’t know uncle. She said she is going to catch the next flight to Colombo. Let me send her a text’ I said almost crying.
‘There is no hurry Rnadika, if you want we will stay with you at the hospital tonight’ aunty Sitha said.
‘Yes Randika, we can stay with you. My parents are also on their way to the hospital now’ Shamalie said.
She was holding Asitha’s hand, I noticed. I looked at Jerome’s grayish eyes as if I am looking for a miracle to happen. I took a long breath and said.
‘I think we should go home now’
‘That is good. Anyway, I will stay at the hospital tonight and call you if anything changed’ uncle Derek said.
We left the hospital and came home. Shamalie called her mother and asked her to prepare dinner for us.
‘We will sleep at you place tonight’ aunty Sitha said.
‘Thank you aunty’ I said.
That night aunty Sitha, Jerome and Asitha stayed at my place. Asitha has bought books to study and I felt sorry for him. His eyes looked tired but underneath that tiredness I saw some relief. He was in a better shape than last time. It’s Shamalie that has made the difference. Maybe something good will come out of this dark time. Aunty Sitha and Jerome shared front couches and Asitha said he is going to study bit more. I went to my bed and it didn’t take long before I fell asleep. Maybe I was dreaming, I felt someone wrapping arms around me. I recognize this warm breath and sweet smell….Jerome is here.
It was a different morning when I woke up. There is so much buzz going inside the house. When I came out, table was full of food for breakfast. Shamlie’s parents and aunty Sitha was chatting at the front porch. Jerome was busy with his phone. Most likely he is arguing with Gunasekera about taking a day off today. Asitha has left in the morning because he has an exam. There was a text from Hashini just before she got onboard. Her flight is due to land in Colombo tonight at 10. Sajith has taken the same flight. Jerome was waiting for me to come to table. We sat down to eat but I barely could eat anything. I felt like I was about to get sick.
‘Did you hear anything from your dad’ I asked.
‘He did call mom and said there is no change with mamma’ he replied.
‘Hmm..I should go to the hospital to relive your father. He must be tired now. Hey, I wanted to ask you something. Is your father doing alright? He has a worried look. I noticed that yesterday’
‘Well you know after his retirement, he cannot keep himself in one place. He started doing business with his friend who had connections with the previous government. After government change, they couldn’t secure the contract. I told him few times to stay home and relax. But he is so used to work so it seems impossible’. Jerome replied.
The day seems so long. I was eager to see Hashini. After all, they are my only remaining link to my parents and mamma. I picked them from airport and drove straight to the hospital. Hashini asked me how I was doing and thanked me for what I have done so far. Sajith didn’t talk much and I was not surprised. Though we grew-up together like brothers, we were never close. He always thought his mother treated me better than him. This feeling was so strong that even to-date we can barely exchange more than few words. We met the doctor in charge and noted each of our relationship to the patient. Finally he said mamma’s brain is dead and there is no chance of her waking. He suggested that we should think about this and let him know. Three of us went to see mamma for one last time. When we came home, it was closer to midnight. Hashini promptly hugged Jerome’s and Shamalie’s parents. Shortly they left us. I asked Jerome to stay overnight but he reluctantly went home.
‘I will keep my phone closer, if you need to talk with me’ Jerome said while leaving. I wanted to hug him tight and kiss.
That night I felt the cold feeling of being lonely. I was a stranger among my own. I wished he be lying next to me.
Part 5 next
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