Kissed by a Ghost on the Bed

When he laughed and coughed her eyes got teary and her mind was lost. The forced air from the floor vents would flutter the edges of the blanket thrown over his brittle wasted body.

Life for him as she learned from these last few days sunk to rock bottom. It was very difficult for her, but she tried to rationalize, talk herself into letting go, but instead she agonized.


She slumped into a chair by the bed arms folded across her chest, forgetting for a moment about the cancer that circled the room like a bird of prey.


On March 18th the cancer cells massacred the good cells. That put an end to the daily fighting. Life was nearly over, and sadly there was going to be peace. No happiness, only calm.


The past few months leading up to the 18th she dedicated herself to taking care of her husband. She made him his favorite breakfast in the morning, helped him in and out of bed. She made sure he took his medications, washed his badly soiled clothes and read some stories to him in the afternoon. When he became totally bedridden, she turned him on his side every hour so he wouldn't get bed sores.


It was tiring and she was exhausted. That night of the 18th was haunting as she drifted off to sleep. In her sleep she saw a dead body by the door. Then she saw a young man in dark clothes dangling from the end of a rope tied to a branch outside the bedroom window. His face was puffy and blue. Then she saw people walk by like mourners, but hardly anyone seem to notice the hung man. Then a ghost rode silently through the room and just vanished through the walls. Everywhere she looked, a haze of spirits covered the ceiling.


Cancer was still standing as the lone victor. The cure had the doors padlocked, the windows shattered, but oddly the glass remained intact. She sat in the bedroom by his side, but she felt like a stranger. She thought about all the things that mattered when they first met, they had seemed so important then, but not at all now. She shifted violently in her chair, and she woke up.


Just before midnight, he dragged his head off the pillow. He asked her to lean in and he gave her a kiss on each cheek. Then he closed his eyes for the final time. The sounds of crickets swelled in the gardens as she pushed back a loose curl of her hair and realized she was just kissed by a ghost on the bed...

© 2015 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 57 comments

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York

I had to vote all Frank. This is such an accurate depiction of the death-bed watch. Unfortunately I'm very familiar with it from my parents and in-laws. You've captured the sadness, weariness and fear that attend the end of a loved one's life. The helplessness as you watch a once vibrant life slipping away.

Also shared.


Uzochukwu Mike profile image

Uzochukwu Mike 21 months ago from Oba

Nice and great. Keep on the good work.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much til.. sorry for the discomfort...bless you.. and thank you Uzoch for stopping by :)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

Been there, done that, and you captured it perfectly. :)


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 21 months ago from The Beautiful South

I'm at a lose for words Frank; you are a real pro is all I can think! Up and shared!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 21 months ago from southern USA

Frank, you are a master of flash fiction. This one here is off the charts and into the stratosphere good! This may be my new favorite of yours.

Your creativity really shines in this one and you so expertly craft the scene with your perfectly chosen words. Cool title that draws one in.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Brilliant piece written by a brilliant man.

Bless you


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Billy and jackie for commenting.. and as always thank you Faith for always having that real Faith in my writing bless you guys...:)


Sara Sarwar Riaz profile image

Sara Sarwar Riaz 21 months ago from Michigan, USA

You captured the helplessness and solemn acceptance while watching a loved one suffer at the hands of a terminal ailment, really well.

As a cancer specialist, I deal with these situations more often than I want to. I have become acquainted with a myriad of coping mechanisms of the loved ones over the years. You precisely shed light on a salient one.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

Sara thank you so much for commenting on my Ghost.. bless you for the work that you do too...:)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

Also been there done that Frank, unfortunately. Your story ha captured all the emotions and feelings involved.....very well written as always. Voted up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Jodah bless you bro


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 21 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

April 1, 2008. Your description is eerily close, Frank. Minus the man hanging outside the window of course, and it was a woman lying there. But the kiss is spot on.....A ghost on the bed.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

cam sorry and still bless you.. thanks for reading my ghost


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 21 months ago from USA

Simply marvelous. You capture the setting and emotions perfectly, Frank.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

flourish thank you so much


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Awesome.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 21 months ago from Southern Illinois

Frank, this is so visual. You brought me into the room. I love the idea of being kissed by a ghost if it's a loved one. I love your stories!


Ariel-Cal profile image

Ariel-Cal 21 months ago from Bridgeport, CT

Sad but fabulous Hub...Having family that passed away of cancer and knowing one that is battling as we speak you brought tears to my eyes thinking of that end moment. Sad that they are gone, but were they really living or a ghost at the end....


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Eric, and Always, thank you for reading my stories, also Ariel-Cal sorry about the tears.. bless you God bless you all :)


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 21 months ago from Nibiru

Sad, really sad to loose a loved one to an illness. I can always transport myself into one of your stories. It is very imaginative frank


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 21 months ago from United States

Frank, visiting you after a long time, and you still give me those goosebumps via your deep yet fathomless words that actually revolve around mankind and if pondered upon, can create quite a stir.

xoxo


headshrinker profile image

headshrinker 21 months ago from Western Massachusetts

Frank you capture it all, the weight of waiting for the end when one can do nothing but wait.....helplessly for the inevitable.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks Clive for stopping by.. and Ruchira good to see you again.. and welcome headshrinker bless you guys..


Smilealot 21 months ago

Well written Frank, it's a story most of us sadly can relate to:-))


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 21 months ago

Awesome Frank. I kept thinking a ghost was going to appear while she was watching over him. It did not turn out that way and I got the shivers when she was kssed by a ghost. Eeew. I voted it up, shared, and Tweeted it.

Kevint


Genna East profile image

Genna East 21 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Death-bed vigils such as these are torture; and you are quite right about cancer “that circles the room like a bird of prey.” It is a lone victor. But the love these two shared went beyond that victory. Chilling and superbly written, Frank.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 21 months ago from The Caribbean

Even when cancer kills the victim, it doesn't kill love in heart of the survivor. There was so much love in that death room. Thanks for sharing this view. Voted Up!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 21 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Macabre tale of the final moment. Nice piece of writing.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much smilealot.. good seeing you .. and also thank you for that wonderful comment christine


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Kevin for reading and thank you so much Genna East for sharing your comment with me bless you guys


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much MsDora for reading my ghosts.. and welcome mckbirdbks and thanks for reading my hub bless you guys :)


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 20 months ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

Awesome ghost.....your flash fiction is beautiful as ever .

Shared and voted up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton Author

ok... :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

I know first hand the exhaustion that occurs when caring for terminal loved ones. You wrote this beautifully. That wife will never regret what she did for her dying husband in his time of need. Sweet ending...the kiss. Up votes and sharing.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 20 months ago from Dallas, Texas

I loved your venture into this vastly different and deeply moving area of story telling. I've experienced this first hand, too, and the relief was mixed with sadness and grief. You've captured the emotions and the atmosphere completely. Well done, Frank.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Peggy and Pegcole bless you both


annart profile image

annart 20 months ago from SW England

Totally haunting and so well written. I've done the bed vigil too and it is that exhausting and makes your head ache and throb. Sadness, the past, relief, pain and tears.....

Well done, Frank.

Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so munch annart for checking out my short


Lee Cloak 20 months ago

An amazing piece, really strong stuff, well done great work, thank you!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks again Lee Cloak


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 20 months ago from California

You are just a master at this Frank!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks Audrey :)


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

Cancer ...be gone...do wish that is all that it took...just to say those words.

It comes in and steals the nights and days and will strangle us if we let it...but we won't!!!

Spot on, Frank. How many of us have been kissed by such ghosts?

Awesome

Voted up pinned to Awesome HubPages and Shared

Know that once again Angels are on the way to you ps


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 20 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Frank, this was written with such insight! What can I say, Exceptional work. My best always


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Pstraubie and tobusiness, bless you both Frank


Besarien profile image

Besarien 19 months ago

This one dug deep into some baggage, pockets of old hurt. I think there was a little loose change in there too.

I wasn't missing the smells. Memory supplied those anyway. Voted up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 19 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks for reading Besarien.. sorry about digging out some baggage.. I hope it's smooth sailing now..


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 17 months ago from Florida

Goodness, cancer can be so dark and evil. It's very tough on the one with cancer, rarely we do not give a whole lot of thought to the one who is the care giver of their loved one. I mean, we know they have this hard job to do, but we never consider how hard mentally it is for them. Physically, they are exhausted; we see that; however, no one ever knows the thoughts that plague them, the nightmares. This was really sad and deep.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 17 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Missy for your visits bless you


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 16 months ago

Nice one Frank , it seemed so real for me ! Awesome reality in this write .++++


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you ahorseback


The Stages Of ME profile image

The Stages Of ME 16 months ago

Frank ~

This was beautiful and so hauntingly true of how cancer quietly extinguishes its plague of doom. However, the beauty of love depicted in the couple rings louder and truer for me, and thus cancer never wins. No disease can battle true love. Love is what we came from and where we return in forever peace. Thank you for sharing and have a blessed day.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much The Stages of Me


anemixflarie profile image

anemixflarie 16 months ago

one that has been kissed by a ghost on the bed and that has helped loved ones battled this victor, I can say it really moved me, and as you have written down no better way to explain it.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you anemix for reading my shorts...:)


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 14 months ago from LOS ANGELES

This may sound repetitive but- been there done that- I love your story- telling Frank . It leaves the reader wondering long after its been read. I especially love the - Laura Kimbler - stories.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

Dana, sorry for your loss, and thank you for reading my Kimber projects :)

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