Nothing big really happened. The doctors, nurses, and staff continued to perform their assigned duties in the CVRR after they solemnly had escorted us out. They showed emotion and hurt, but they were professional and kept pushing through. Once we were out of the CVRR, there were families milling around in the waiting area anxious for news from their own doctors and nurses about their loved ones who were in for various surgeries and procedures. We stood in an open, lobby area in front of the elevators – the elevator doors kept opening and closing. A candy striper or two hustled by doing their volunteer duties. The slight bong bong of the hospital public address paging system regularly sounded out – looking for somebody. I stood under a blowing duct of air-conditioning. It felt really, really cold but I didn’t move because I was in a corner and out of the way of everything and everyone and I didn’t know what to do.
We stood with a few of our nurses who had been with us the whole time – all of us in shock and with dry tears. No words. I heard some phones ringing – they kept ringing. Lilly kept running.
Shouldn’t something happen? Shouldn’t the world stop for a few minutes or seconds? Shouldn’t there be a big voice out of the sky that announces something profound? Shouldn’t there be something?
A nice lady arrived. She invited us back into the small family room where only an hour or so earlier we had decided to let Regina go. The counselor was very gracious and patient. She had a bit of paperwork. A few signatures. It was simple. She wasn’t pushy. I felt kind of sorry for her – having to do such a hard thing with families right after.
I signed one, last form. She closed her folder and looked at me.
I remember saying, “What now?”
She said, “Well, we’re all finished here.”
“Do we go home?”
“Yes, you are done.”
And with that, it was over. I was going home without Regina.