I watched on as my doctors tried their best to save my spent shell – and failed. There was so much they attempted, and yet, I wasn’t there to get back into my diseased body.
My life had come to an end, and there was so much for my family to organise.
I heard the doctor call the time of my death – 1:45pm – and I looked outside at the beautiful Spring day at the flowering Japanese maple outside my hospital window. How pretty that was.
I turned and followed him out into the hall where he became most upset and sat down with my Mum and Dad, telling them that my body had given up the fight against the disease.
“… it was a long time coming… I’m so sorry. But she put up a good fight.” He said to them as they sobbed against each other. My brother was there sitting on the floor in the corner; a complete mess, along with my twenty-four year old niece who looked up to me from the day she was old enough to ask the tough questions – like the day she asked me where the stars came from and what a rainbow was (and I could tell her truthfully).
The next thing I know, we are at my house. There’s a large purple box on my dining room table, right where I had left it before being moved into the special care unit three weeks ago. It had a fine coating of dust on it.
The fridge was empty.
My bills had been collected by my folks and paid on their credit card.
My brother unlocked all the doors and windows and let in the air and light.
My niece went outside into my garden to my art studio, unlocked the door there and went inside. Nobody saw her for the rest of the day.
Dad made coffee.
I watched them all open the box and inside it was a briefcase Mum had given me years ago. Dad pulled it out as my brother held the box down, and the briefcase was opened; the loud snapping of the clips being undone was almost deafening.
Inside the briefcase was my Will, my bank account details and an external hard drive nobody knew existed.
“What’s this?” Mum asked, “She’s already got one.”
My brother grabbed it and took it upstairs to my office, plugged it in, turned on my computer and opened it up.
I stood behind him as he saw all the folders of genres that I had written. He moved the mouse over one and clicked on it and page was filled to the brim with story and book titles – all completed and ready to be published.
Backing up to the main drive, he clicked on an arts folder and clicked on that and there were photos of every single piece of artwork I ever did in my life.
He backed up again and looked around to find one folder labelled: ‘My Life’… and he clicked on that. The page filled with chapters about me, “It’s a journal.” He muttered, until he saw the size of each one, and realised it was about my life, who I was, what I loved, what I hated… things people knew about me, secrets about me people didn’t know… it was the sex, lies and video tapes of my life all in one book that my family didn’t bother asking me about, all here for them to read.
“Well?” Mum’s voice asked at the door. I turned and looked at her as Gabe did, “What was on it?”
He looked around, “She’s written so many books. There’s so much artwork on here. And there’s also an autobiography about her life – about things we’ve tried to learn about her and she’s never told us – and, Mum… people need to know this about my sister. I think it’s best if we publish her written works and make the money she couldn’t while she was alive.”
Mum sighed, “Do you think so?”
He nodded, “Yes. My sister was a brilliant writer. But nobody took her seriously in life… so why not in death?”
My funeral service was so brilliantly colourful. I was buried as stipulated in my Will. My whole family was there… all my friends. And there were so many people there who showed up and yet I had forgotten I had met them.
I sat on a seat nearby watching them bury my casket when another arrived and sat next to me, “Well, are you ready?”
“So, you’re my guide?” he smiled, “Yep.”
“Bro, it was so good that you could help me through this by being there for Mum.” I grinned, “How did you know I was there, and here?”
He looked to his hands, “Um… your reflection showed up in the pane of glass at home in your office and you show in a mirror too.” He held up a tiny make-up mirror from my old bathroom that my niece had nabbed, “I spotted you sitting here, and people think I’m talking to myself. But since you passed away, I’ve been seeing you everywhere.” He looked over to my left, “And I think it’s time you left, because over there is your pathway to leave.”
I looked over to where he was and saw the most lovely, inviting light, “I’ll miss you all.”
“I missed you immediately.”
“I know. But don’t be ashamed of the stories… they’re just fun things I wrote. And my life story is the absolute truth of what I think of the world.” I stood and turned from him.
“… and she’s back!”
I took in a long painful breath, opening my eyes.
I hadn’t been sick at all.
“Hey, Beth, are you still with us?” a nurse squeezed my hand and I squeezed back, “We lost you for a minute, but you’re back now.”
“What happened to me?”
“A drunk driver hit you and totalled his car.” The doctor said, “Damned asshole.”
“I’m gonna make it. I have so much more to write, do and paint before anything gets me.” I muttered.
A week passes by and my family is allowed in to see me in my room. My niece races in, and she’s so happy to see I’m okay. She’s still fourteen years old… I’m puzzled at exactly what I had seen before. My brother sees this and shuffles everyone out to chat.
I tell him what happened, and he’s shocked.
“Yeah.” I looked at him, “Now you can see why I’m so puzzled about Jemma…”
He gently touched my hand, “Well, you’ll be okay, sis… I’ll make sure of it.”
A decade passes by and I’m packing a purple box with a briefcase filled with the last things I want my family to have.
I’m not well.
It’s the Big C… and I’m going to die.
So, I’ve made sure I’ve taken some precautions for my family.
Inside this box is a secret hard drive filled with my life’s work, photos of all my artwork and a sex, lies and video tapes-style book of my life.