CW: Falling apart – That time when I got THAT call.

“The phone is ringing and you are dreading the message on the end of the line.”
– a prompt for this week’s CW piece.
[Source: @DailyPrompt]


You should go home and rest” – the nurse said.

A million thoughts rattled through my brain.

Is this it? Is this the end of the line?” – I wondered to myself, scared that someone might hear my thoughts.

My mother had been strong her whole life. Now it was my turn to play the part and make her feel at ease. The fact that she was highly sedated gave me extra time to prepare for the role of my life.

From talking to the healthcare professionals and reading between the lines, I knew that my mom’s situation was not easy. There seemed to be little to no hope in their eyes when they spoke about her. It was disheartening, but I appreciated it because it allowed me to prepare myself for the worst.

There is no reason for you to sit here. We’ve done all we could. It’s late and you must be exhausted after such a day. Go home. We will let you know if there is a change” – the nurse insisted.

Logically thinking, I knew that me sitting there throughout the night was pointless. There was nothing I could do, I was tired and I had work the next day. However, I felt a twinge of guilt when I thought of leaving. People in movies practically live at their loved one’s bedside. Was I calloused? Was I a terrible child? Did that mean that I did not care for my mother?

No” – I shook my head and decided to go home.

After all, that is what I would recommend to anyone in my shoes.

On my way out, I stopped at my mom’s bed.

I silenced my thoughts for a brief moment and looked at her.

The breathing tube in her mouth.

The IV line in her neck.

All the cables.

Just this morning, I spoke with her. She checked the weather for me before I left for work.

And only a couple of hours later I got the call that she was being taken to the hospital.

Could I have known?

Could I have done something differently?

Don’t do this to yourself” – I finally thought to myself and touched her hand.

I love you” – I said out loud.

Her eyes opened for the first time in hours and she squeezed my hand.

Tears rushed to my eyes but the shock kept them at bay.

The guilt dissipated. I knew that she approved of me going home.

Her eyes closed as quickly as they have opened.

I’m going to leave” – I said to the nurse.

Do we have your number in case something happens during the night?” – the nurse asked.

Yes” – I answered, swallowing hard.

Alright” – he nodded.

“Also, either I or the nurse that will come in the morning to replace me will give you a call with an update then” – he assured me.

Thank you” – I said and left.

On my way home, I stopped at a 24h fast food place and grabbed a burger to sustain myself. Only now did the hunger creep in. There was no sign of it all day at the hospital.

Once I got home, I was not sure whether I would be able to sleep or not. With the phone in my hand, I laid down on the couch.

I wish there was something I could do” – I thought to myself.

You’ve done all you could.

But that’s not enough!

It is. It has to be. Go to sleep.”

I can’t. What if – 

No “what ifs”. Also, they will call you. You have the phone right here.

We will figure it out once the call comes. Now, go to sleep. You need to rest.

Oddly enough, I drifted away into deep sleep moments after my head touched the pillow.

It was still dark outside when the call came.



I am calling to give you an update on your mother” – said the voice on the other side of the line.

My heart was almost in my mouth, ready to pop out and leave my lifeless body on the floor. The suspense was killing me. Figuratively speaking.

She’s stable. I just got here, but I was told she had a peaceful night. I will update you again at the end of my shift, but feel free to call any time to check up on her” – said the nurse.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

My mom lived to see another day…


P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post, so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!

Stay golden,



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29 thoughts on “CW: Falling apart – That time when I got THAT call.

Add yours

  1. My dad is 89 years old. Some parts of this story rang true for me. The feeling of helplessness and miss-placed guilt gave the story a realistic feel. In spite of it all, mother and daughter live for another day. -well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a touching story – and so close to home. (My post for tomorrow is about my mom.)
    When my dad was dying, we had the advantage of some very comfortable reclining chairs, so my sister and I spent the night in his room AND got some sleep – win-win. A nurse spent the night sitting by his bed in the dark. The next morning I saw a book lying by her chair, and I apologized that our being there had kept her from being able to read. She replied sweetly that it was fine, she had just prayed through the night.
    Did I say “nurse”? It was an angel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Goodness, this reminds me of when my mother ended up in the hospital. She wasn’t breathing well and her oxygen levels were quite low, which apparently they had been for some time. Luckily for her being in the hospital, her CO2 levels rose so high she couldn’t regain consciousness until the doctors put her on a ventilator. Luckily she survived, but the damage to her lungs and heart is done. It’s not easy having her live with us, but I imagine if I didn’t make her do it, she’d have ended up back in the hospital.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. Things are a bit hit or miss. I’m not good with conflict and she has a tendency to crave salty foods which aren’t good for her lungs or her heart. So I try to steer her in the right direction, but know she’s also an adult and she knows the risks she’s taking by indulging in those foods.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes. It certainly is. My diet may leave a bit to be desired, but I made proactive changes to follow the same guidelines to hopefully avoid such issues to me as I grow older. I may “cheat” sometimes, but generally, I try to follow a healthy diet. It seems odd when you have a significant brush with death and one of those rules to continue living as long as possible, would be to alter what you eat. Doesn’t seem like a major ask to me. It’s unfortunate when it becomes apparent that everything else applies, but not the food being consumed.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I think some people simply don’t care. We are all going to die anyway, so they prefer to enjoy whatever life they have left. Maybe it’s selfish of us to try and preserve their time on this planet?


  4. Isn’t it amazing how much people can relate to this story? They’ve each had someone so dear to them who died or was very close to dying. And this story is real enough to remind them of that person.

    In my case, it reminds me of my grandma. She suffered from an acute stroke for nearly four years before she finally died. It wasn’t easy staying around her while she was sick. Watching her writhe in pain during one of her spasms, and throwing up shortly after taking her drugs … it was a painful experience for everybody. While I’m hurt that she’s gone now, I comfort myself with the sentiment that she’s in place where there’s no suffering or pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Strokes can be really devastating to the mind and body, as well as the people around the affected person. I definitely know that myself.

      When I decided to write this story, I wondered if it wasn’t too heavy. I’m glad that some people still read it and left feedback. People sharing their personal stories on this topic made my day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was holding my breath with this one!
    The ending was a relieve!

    A lot of people seem to relate to the story, but I have never had a time where I went to the hospital to see somone fighting for their life. But I’d imagine it must be hard.

    Is this story based on personal e~periences?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you never had to go through this. Although, I know you went through other health related issues with your family.

      Yes, this was based on personal experience. So much was going through me while I wrote it, but I wasn’t sure if I was able to express any of it.


      1. You said just enough to make the reader experience what you were going through.
        Sometimes one single tear says more than a dramatic cry <

        Liked by 1 person

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Cathleen Townsend

Faerie Tales and Fantasy Worlds


writing science-fiction and fantasy since tomorrow

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