He’s fucking dying.
And we can’t do a thing.
“Gerard, I don’t know if you can hear me. But this isn’t the end. We’ll fight for you. I don’t fucking care if we have to spend every penny My Chemical Romance has ever given us, we’re putting these pieces back together. We’re getting you back, I promise.”
“Frank, please don’t make promises. I don’t want you to lose hope, but what if all the money in the world can’t fix him?”
“Don’t say that, Ray. I don’t want to lose my brother.”
“Frank, Gerard isn’t an angel. And we’re not gonna let him become one. Not for a long time, at least.”
I can’t believe that there’s nothing in my power I can do to keep him here. I just can’t fully wrap my head around it. Gerard will be gone in three months. And all we can do is stay by his side and make sure his last days are as best as they possibly can be.
I wonder if he knows? Has he heard the doctors speak? Is he lying in that cold room, half-conscious, anticipating his own death?
Please, no. If this is the way it has to be, I won’t let him live these next months in the knowledge that soon, it will all be to waste.
What can I do for him, though? Will he be stuck wasting away in a bed until the day his heart shuts down? How will I be able to stand by him and act like everything’s okay?
He’ll realize he’s dying. He’ll know it, every time he slips away a bit farther. Every centimetre he travels farther away from this place, he’ll know it. He’ll see it. And he’ll know where he’s going and how much longer it will take to get there.
I don’t want to watch him die. I used to always think: if one day I was forced to watch someone I love die, I would want them to get run over by a train or a car, or get shot. Something quick and easy like that. Death is almost instant. The pain is next to none, as the body is dead before the brain knows it. There would be only seconds of knowing what was happening. Again, the body would be dead before the brain could fully comprehend the situation. But this disease, this fucking Creutzfeldt-Jakob shit… this is going to kill him in the most slow, painful, humiliating, merciless way. Not slow, like tripping on the sidewalk and falling into the path of a speeding car. But slow and deadly, like getting eaten alive. And that’s what’s happening to him, the doctor said it himself. He’s getting eaten alive by his own brain. First his memory is gone, next his normal psychological behaviours, and I suppose what will end him is the day his automatic nervous system is eaten away. The tissue that keeps his heart beating and his lungs inhaling and exhaling. The second that is gone, he’s gone. And Ray, Mikey, and I have to watch it happen, awaiting the day he is no longer, because it’s better than seeing him suffer.
Why Gerard, though? Why Gerard, of all people?
Take me, instead. Let him live.
“Doctor…” Ray said through tears. “Are you sure…”
“I’m sure. I’m sorry.”
Mikey sobbed like a child into Ray’s shoulder. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be him right now. To have your own brother, your flesh and blood, your best friend, taken away from you. Lying in a bed, waiting to die.
Mikey, I’m so so sorry.
“C-Can you tell us wh-what to expect at least?” I stuttered, leaning over to put my arm around Mikey. “What h-happens from h-h-here?”
“We’re going to let you take him home. Just use your common sense. If he feels like going for a walk, take him for a walk. We’ll send you home with a wheelchair, in case he’s too weak. Just use your best judgement. If you think it’s best for him to stay in bed, keep him in there. We’ll also give you mild sedatives.” The doctor said matter-of-factly. “You can expect him to lose his hearing and eyesight within a month. Into the second month, he should get very weak; unable to get out of bed most of the time. May stop eating, also. Third month, the chances of him going into a coma a couple of days before death are high. You’ll know how to handle it when it comes.”
“Sh-shouldn’t he stay in here?” Ray asked.
“No, it would be best to take him home and keep him in a familiar environment, surrounded by familiar people. There is nothing we can do that you can’t. Also if he were to stay here, it would be a much bigger shock to him when his dementia is inevitably pushed over the edge.”
“I understand. Thanks.” Ray said, pushing himself off the chair and trying to bring Mikey with him.
“R-Ray, no!” Mikey cried out. “There has to be something…”
“Come on, Mikes. There’s nothing. We have to take him home.”
“He’s just going to rot away there. N-No, we can’t let him rot away.”
Ray grabbed his hands and pulled him off the chair.
“Let’s go.” He said to me.
“There’s a wheelchair in there, you can take him out in that. He should be conscious by now. I’ll meet you at reception by the front entrance.” The doctor said, leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
“I’ll make a head start.” I said to Ray. “You take care of Mikey, he needs you right now.”
He nodded to me over Mikey’s shaking body, wrapped in his arms once again.
I followed the doctor’s trail and made my way across the hall into Gerard’s room.
“Hey, Gee.” I said as I opened the door and peaked my head through.
He sat up in his bed and stared at me as if he were trying to recognize me; find me somewhere in the pages of his memory.
“Frank?” He said finally. “Is that you?”
He remembers me.
“Yeah, it’s me.” I smiled, wiping my eyes with my already-soaked sleeve.
“W-What happened?” He asked, his eyes racing around the room.
I went over to his bed and sat down on the edge of it.
“You’re in the hospital.”
As far as he knows, he isn’t dying. And I’m bloody well going to make sure it stays that way.
“We just wanted to get some tests done. Do you remember hitting the doctor?”
“Vaguely. Serves the bastard right, I said no shots.”
“Yeah.” I laughed. “That’s why they put you under. They felt threatened.”
“Understandable, I suppose. So are they keeping me in here?”
“Nope.” I said. “We’re going home.”
“Right now?” He beamed.
“Yeah. Right now.”
Damn it, that smile. Gerard, this is going to kill me.
Then maybe I can go with you. Wherever you’re headed.
I guess only you will know.
I grabbed the wheelchair from the far left corner and set it out in front of the bed for him.
“Come on. Mikey and Ray are waiting at the front entrance.”
He got out of the bed and I helped him into the wheelchair. He’s weak, I can feel it.
“Mikey and Ray are here?”
“Of course they are.” I chuckled.
Shit, I should probably warn them.
I texted Ray:
G is doing well, we’re heading your way. try to calm mikey down, and please please act like nothing is wrong.
“Yeah, Gee?” I said, slipping my phone back into my pocket before he saw.
“Do I have a criminal charge?”
“I hit the doctor.”
No, because you’re dying. How could anyone give a criminal charge to someone cursed with your fate?
“They’re not pressing charges.”
My phone vibrated against my rib cage.
Mikes took a taxi home. we decided its best. I have the sedatives and my lips are sealed.
I wheeled Gerard down to the first floor where we met up with Ray.
“Hey, guys. Gerard, how are you doing?” He asked with almost disturbing calmness.
“We’ll get you home and you can go to bed for a while. I already called a taxi, it’s waiting outside for us.”
Ray got into the front seat with the driver, and I helped Gerard into the back and sat down beside him.
“Yeah?” I answered, putting his seatbelt on for him.
“Will you come to bed with me when we get home?”
Funny. I always fantasized about him saying that. And now that he’s finally said it, the situation and feelings that go along with it are so different than I ever could have imagined. I always thought he would be referring to sex, and our sweat covered bodies would end up pressed together in a session of mad love and passion. Not this. I never pictured him saying it like this; in the most innocent, nearly pathetic way possible. And at this moment, the last thing in the world that I want is sex. I just want to be near him right now. I want to hold him in my arms, and take advantage of every single second of him that’s left. I want to fall in love with him, even if it will hurt more in the end. I want him to die happy.
“Of course, Gee.” I smiled.
The taxi pulled out of the hospital parking lot, and back towards the hotel. We’ll figure out the crap about getting back to Jersey later, right now all that matters is Gerard.
I always said I’d never give up touring for anything. But I would, for Gerard. I could never face the stage without him. I could never get up there and play for thousands of fans, knowing that with every second of every song I played, I was a second closer to losing him. My everything.