There was once a man. A man who was a hero to a small girl. Later he became the monster in her bed. But in the beginning he was her hero. Later, when she became a woman grown, a woman who had battled her demon and won, she thought she had forgiven him. Not forgotten, but forgiven.
For many years they lived a truce of sorts. She was able to love him as she thought a daughter should. He loved her as a father should.
The man aged. His body began to fail him. He fought cancer and won. Life continued on. The man aged well for many many years. Then his senses began to fail him. First his hearing, then the ultimate blow to him. He lost his sight. When that happened he lost his will. It seemed as if he had given up on life, given in.
He mourned these losses, especially his sight. He became lost in anger. He began to disappear.
Then one day he fell into the very pit of hell.
He suffered a massive body destroying stroke.
As the woman grieved for the hero he once was, one day she had a fleeting thought and ask herself, "Is this his punishment for the evil he had brought into her life and the lives of others?" Oh the guilt that wracked her with this thought. She told herself no, and no again. He had never openly voiced his sins of the past, but had openly ask his God for forgiveness. So, no, and no again, she told herself, God does not punish in this way. She forgave herself for the thought, and once again forgave him.
As time passed he did not heal, only became less able, more frail, and the woman grieved for him, for what might have been. She grieved because he could no longer function as he wished, as all those who loved him wished. He had lost the ability speak, the ability to swallow, the ability to control all bodily function. There were still times when he could express himself. A sound, a nod, an eye blink, a squeeze of the hand, a smile. All of these he shared with those who loved him. Except for the girl who had lost her hero. He did not respond to her touch, to the sound of her voice. She felt as if she had disappeared. She was filled with pain.
Then, one day, not long ago, his body betrayed him even more. It began to shut down. He was placed on a ventilator and the family was told they must search their hearts for answers. Did their hero wish to live this way? Completely reliant on others to fulfill his every need? Reliant upon a machine to pump the gift of life into him?
His loved ones fought, they wailed, they grieved. Finally the woman who had lost her hero decided to ask him, "Do you want to live this way? Do want this machine to govern your life for you?" For the first time in so many months he responded to her. His eyes met hers. He answered her. "No, no and no again."
As grief held her body rigid, the woman began to feel a sense of peace. Her hero of old had had his say. He had been able to express his wishes. It would be his wishes that would be fulfilled.
But, suddenly there was a turnaround for him. He slowly gained strength. The family began to hope. Their broken but much loved hero would return to them. But as so often happens hope was soon snatched away.
He became very very ill, was rushed to hospital. Life saving measures were taken. His loved ones were questioned once again. Answers were given. The last to be ask was the woman who as a young girl had lost her hero. Eyes wide open she looked at those she loved so fiercely. They were all so hopeful, so filled with fear. She did not have the courage to answer as she knew she should. She answered from ages past, she answered as a little girl who idolized her hero. She answered, "Do what must be done to keep him living."
He lives this night. Dependent upon a machine to fill his body with life.
This night when she left his bedside, when she left her family who were so filled with hope. She left feeling as if she had broken a promise to her hero of old.