3:30 am: Jetlag and my 6.5-week-old cough wakes me up, making me hack up some lovely lung guck. I fall back into a fitful sleep.
4:30 am: Though there are two closed doors between us, you wake me with the sound of the hard, hacking coughs that jar your little body. It continues for what seems like an eternity. I drag myself out of bed and let you out, trying to massage your throat in a futile effort to help. Then I let you outside in hopes that the fresh air will soothe your lungs, but the cold early morning air doesn’t help like it usually does in the daytime. You come back in, still coughing, and huddle in front of me, begging me to do something but I can’t. Nothing I do can help. I give you your heart medication, but its effects do not directly cause your cough to subside. So we sit together in the dark and wait it out, these coughing fits. Tears stream down my face as your little body shakes, every cough ripping my heart to shreds. The thought of ending your misery flits across my mind but I brush it away, too selfish to even consider putting you down. I know you are 17, but can’t you live forever? Our family just won’t be the same without you. You’re still so normal and energetic, albeit a bit deaf when you’re not coughing, but when the coughing fits overtake you, it’s clear that you’re nearing the end of your life.
I cannot bear the thought of that day.