Joshua elected to remain in the room. Everyone else went into the room for families in this exact situation. To wait it out without the need to actually witness it.
He watched her chest rise and fall, mirrored by the waves measuring her heartbeat on the little screen.
The doctor announced it was a matter of minutes until her body ceased to function and ushered everyone out. They’d said their goodbyes. Now it was time to be with the living.
His grandmother’s chest still expanded with each breath. She was hanging on, waiting.
Joshua recalled a moment from his childhood, when he didn’t realise she was at their place. He still doesn’t understand the mechanics of how she came to be lying in their bath with his little sister.
He heard laughter, and was hungry and needed to know when dinner was, so he barged into the bathroom, expecting to see his mother.
But his grandmother was lying back in the bath, her breasts melting on either side.
This woman, who many years ago made a choice to marry a man, somehow created the opportunity for him to be born. Without her decisions, he would not be in this world.
He reached over to her sinewy hand and held it. She was cold to the touch.
He realised her chest fell and did not rise, but her heartbeat continued, riding the crests of the monitor.
“Thank you,” he said as she died.