Justin turned from his vigil at his wife's bedside, meeting his daughter's
questioning look with a sombre one of his own. He slowly shook his head.
"They say the longer she's like this, the worse her chances are." He
said, as Nancy came to sit down. "She's not shown a single sign of wanting
to wake up, Nancy...I'm beginning to wonder if it would be the best thing
just to...you know...give up."
"No!" Nancy exclaimed. "No way, Dad, I'm not letting you switch her
off! She's not a machine, you can't just decide when she's past help! Aunt
Phyl is more than willing to help out with medical costs and Mom's a fighter...Dad,
you can't give up on her!"
Tears filled her eyes, and gently Justin hugged her.
"I know how you feel, Nance. I love her too." He murmured. "But is it
fair? She's always been so lively and active and quick-witted...this isn't
your mother, however you look at it. If she goes on like this for a year
or two, it still won't mean things are better. I'm just wondering whether,
if there really is no chance she's gonna wake up, we should do the kindest
thing and let her go. I don't think she'd want to live like this, and none
of us can hope to grieve or get through this whilst it's still going on."
He took his wife's hand gently in his as he spoke.
"I don't want to make the choice, Nancy." He murmured, his voice
wavering slightly despite his determined outer composure. "But I'm beginning
to think I might have to. Dr Pope spoke to me about it last night. He said
that if there's no change soon..."
"No way." Nancy shook her head firmly. "Dad, Mom wouldn't want you to
give up on her. You know she wouldn't. And we don't know that she won't
wake up. They've not done a brain scan."
"They've not been able to, because she's still on that thing." Justin
pointed to the ventilator, loathing in his voice. "She's wired up to a
whole bunch of junk that's keeping her alive, but what for, Nancy?" He
sighed. "This isn't alive. This isn't living. This isn't...this isn't my
Jetta. This isn't the woman I married in Vegas twenty four years ago...and
it isn't fair. We're thinking of us - maybe it's time we stopped and thought
about her. Do you want to remember her like this? Or how she was
"How she was before." Nancy gulped. "But Dad...I can't let her go yet.
I'm not ready. Please...please don't decide that yet. Please."
"I'll talk to your brother as well." Justin said solemnly. "It's a choice
we all have to make, Nance, not just me. I'm just saying that that's what
the doctors are thinking...I think they've all but given up, to be honest
He stood, stretching. "I'm going to go take a walk in the fresh air
and grab something to eat, I'll be back as soon as I can." He continued.
"Since you're here, I don't feel so bad leaving her, and I really need
"It's cool, Dad. You go. I'll stop here." Nancy assured him. "Perhaps...perhaps
Mom and I need some alone time anyway. Especially if we have to decide...well,
you know what."
Justin nodded sombrely, and then left the room, leaving mother and daughter
Nancy took her father's vacated seat, taking her mother's hand in hers
and squeezing it tightly.
"Hi Mom, it's Nancy." She murmured. "I wish I knew if you could hear
me. Everyone wants you to get better and all - I even spoke to Taylor this
morning and he and Vi and everyone there send their best wishes too. The
national press have been printing good luck messages and the FBI are gonna
find the evil creeps who did this to you...everything's gonna be fine."
She paused, swallowing. "Listen, Mom...I don't know if you're in there or
listening, but please, if you are, if you have any strength in you at all,
for God's sake fight back! I know you must've been through hell...you must've
been scared to death and convinced you didn't stand a chance...they say you
were purposely locked in there from the outside by someone, and I know how
phobic you are when you're shut in, it must've been awful. But Mom, you're
not in the office now. You're safe in hospital with kind doctors who want
to help you and your family here to keep you company."
There was no response, and Nancy bit her lip.
"Please, Mom. I...I love you so much, I can't lose you." She whispered.
"You have s...so much to still do, to look forward to. C...Copper and Aaron's
wedding, grandkids, everything. Please wake up. I'll do anything...anything
you want me to do, I'll be an angel, I'll never complain about anything
or ask anything of you again, I swear...just please, don't die on me!"
There was silence, and Nancy wiped her tears away as more fell, glancing
at the steady rhythm of the heartbeat on the monitor by the bed.
Then she did a doubletake.
Was she imagining it, or had her mother's pulse sped up slightly?
A little anxious, she glanced back down at the still form, but could
detect no change. Jetta was pale and motionless as before, and with a sigh
Nancy decided she'd imagined it.
"Maybe they're right." She murmured sadly. "Maybe you are dead in there.
Maybe...maybe it is too late."
She moved to the window, glancing out at the sunny view below, and sighed.
"Shouldn't be sunny, not when you're like this." She mused, turning
away. She straightened the bevy of get well cards on the unit for the umpteenth
time, rearranging the flowers with little enthusiasm, as she took the vase
they were in to the tap for more water.
It was a good thing that the vase in question was made of plastic, for
as she returned to the bed, Nancy's gaze fell on her mother's face and she
forgot completely about the vessel in her arms, letting it fall unnoticed
to the floor as she hurried to take Jetta's hand in hers.
Her mother's eyes were open, and more, they seemed to be watching her.
Nancy's face filled with excited hope as she retook her seat, meeting
her mother's gaze with apprehension and delight.
"Mom, can you hear me?" She demanded. "Please God, tell me? Do you know
who I am?"
There was no reply, and though Jetta made a slight attempt to move her
lips, she did not make a sound.
"If you can understand me, Mom, blink now." She instructed.
There was a moment of hesitation, and then, slowly, Jetta's eyelids
closed and opened. Nancy's heart skipped a beat and she let out an exclamation
"Oh, you heard me! You're not ready to give up, either!" She exclaimed.
"Mom, blink if you know who I am, and what happened to you?"
Another slow, but sure blink came in response, and Nancy thanked her
lucky stars, pressing the buzzer to alert the nurses and Dr Pope.
"Welcome back." She whispered, the tears that pricked her eyes now happy
ones. "I've missed you."
Gently she bent to kiss her mother on the cheek, then she paused, as
something occured to her.
"Mom, do you know who did this to you?" She asked.
Jetta stared at her. Then, very purposefully, she blinked.