For all of the new visitors to my site and all of my readers, thank you so much! Here is another excerpt from a very powerful scene in Love Endures. The entire arc with Brittany and Tommy when she was so close to death just meant so much to me. I don’t always believe in happy endings, but at this moment in the book, Tommy and Brittany deserved another chance.
She lay there, on a ventilator, her chest moving up and down to the beat of the machine. Her eyes were closed and for all intents and purposes she was gone. Tommy approached the bed and sat down on the mattress, facing her. He felt his face wet with tears, but he didn’t even realize he was crying. He heard footsteps and turned to see Dr. Schmidt standing in the doorway, Jack and Stephanie walking in behind.
“Tommy, I’m so sorry to make you deal with this, but you are listed as next of kin. I was not able to locate a living will, so the decision to remove her from life support needs to come from you,” Dr. Schmidt said softly.
Tommy wiped his face and continued to stare at Brittany.
Jack and Stephanie walked closer and Stephanie approached the doctor. “Is there any possibility that she could wake up? I mean, I know what it means to have no brain activity, but because of the high fever, is it possible she is just in a deep coma? I don’t mean to be reaching at nothing, but if there is any chance that she can find her way back, shouldn’t we give her that chance?”
Dr. Schmidt sighed. “We are all doctors here, and I know we like to think that we are above the rules, but I’m afraid we aren’t. Some things are out of our control. Dr. Anthony has suffered a catastrophic case of rheumatic fever, which has resulted in her brain cells being destroyed. She is unresponsive on every test for activity and…”
“Enough!” Tommy yelled. “Get out and leave us, please.”
Dr. Schmidt shook his head and looked at them. His chin quivered as he spoke “I am truly sorry,” he walked out.
Jack looked at Stephanie and turned to walk out. Stephanie walked over to Tommy and kissed him on the cheek. She leaned in and kissed Brittany’s forehead and turned and walked out with her husband. They closed the door and left their friends alone.
Tommy sat there, looking at her. He reached over and took her hand in his. He was still wearing only his scrub bottoms. He placed her hand on his chest and bowed his head. He cried softly as he finally let himself feel a tiny bit of what was happening. He stood up and walked to the other side of the bed, being careful to stay away from the ventilator tubes. He pulled her covers off and gently gathered her in his arms. He held her and pressed his cheek to hers. Her body was lifeless and he rocked her gently.
“My sweetheart. I am so sorry. This isn’t what was supposed to happen. I love you so much and I can’t breathe without you,” he wrapped her in his arms and sat back in the bed gently, making sure the tubes were clear. “Do you know that the first time I did this, when I found you and held you all night in the cave, I was so afraid you weren’t going to make it. I had no idea what was happening to me,” he linked his fingers through hers and kissed her cheek. Her hair was on his neck and he brushed it to the side.
“When you let me bring you to my house that first time, and you were so trusting, yet so scared. I was in awe of your strength. You are the bravest, most amazing woman I know and for some unknown reason, you seemed to actually like me,” he leaned back against the wall and felt his heart breaking. “Baby, what do you want me to do? I know you’re tired and I know you’re sick, but I can’t do this. I need you and our little puppy needs you. I can’t live without you. Oh God, please tell me what to do,” he cried as he held her in the bed, asking questions he knew couldn’t be answered.
He sat there with her for a while and gently laid her back down while he moved off the bed. He was exhausted and he didn’t know where to go or what to do. He moved to the chair and sat down, facing her, watching her, thinking about everything. He looked down and saw something under the bed. He moved and reached down and picked up the pad of paper she was writing in when he saw her before. He sat down on the bed next to her and looked at the writing. He fingered the script on the pages as he turned to look at what she was working on. His heart cracked more when he saw the words. The first page was titled “wedding vows”. He felt his tears fall as he read them aloud. “I never thought I would be here, getting married, to a man who completes every part of my heart and soul. You have made my life mean something. You have done something for me that nobody had been able to do before. You made me love myself and feel like I was worthy of your love,” Tommy couldn’t read any more. He just couldn’t handle this.
He stood up and turned to face her. “What the hell is wrong with you?” he yelled at her. “How dare you do this? Is this some kind of sick joke? You come into my life and then you up and quit? You’re a coward. You can do more than that. We have a life to live and children to raise and love to make. You can’t do this to me, to us. I won’t forgive you. I won’t make it,” he yelled and dropped the pad on the ground. He leaned down to pick it up and saw another entry.
“What I love about Tommy”. He sat down on the floor and read again. “I love your strength of spirit and your honesty. I love your ability to know what to do to ground me. I love how you won’t give up on me, no matter how hard I make it for you to stay. I love how much you believe in me and I never want you to stop believing in me. I believe in us and I believe in you, Tommy. I love you,” he put the pad down and stood up, looking at her. He knew what he had to do.