18

What do you say to your son when the ultimate reality kicks him and you in the teeth? You’ve got five minutes to tell him the last words he might ever hear. Then, whether you said the right thing or not, you don’t get another chance.

Your character, your upbringing, your self take charge.

Sarie chose to say, “I love you, Matt.”

David chose to be practical. “Don’t get panicked. Fear will increase your shock. Trust the system. I’ll push these doctors to their limit. I promise, they’ll do everything they possibly can.”

Donna said… wise Donna… “Matt, you’re a perfect boy.”

A priest in the background said, “No, a perfect man.”

Donna kissed her son.

The tube was inserted, the morphine given.

And that was the final communication.

Except… before drifting into a morphine stupor, Matt (unable to speak because of the oxygen tube crammed down his throat) pointed with determination toward letters on an alphabet board. His trembling finger wavered, spelling. The gist was clear.

Take this tube out. Need a root beer.

And then… Die? he spelled.

“We’re doing our best,” a doctor said.

Matt nodded. His eyelids fluttered. He slept.

The final communication.

Five days later, his injured lung collapsed.

But it reinflated, giving cause for hope.

Three days later, his heart became infected. His blood pressure plummeted, and this time nothing on earth or in heaven, no medicine, no prayers, would help.

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