The heart was barely beating.
The normal sinus rhythm was irregular.
The intubation tube had been slid down her throat to help her
That's my sister.
She had overdosed on heroin and I don't understand why. She
Sure she was stupidly doing drugs, but she wasn't depressed.
Well, if she was, that's drugs for you.
She lay in a coma and I watched over her lifeless body.
I could yank out that tube and end her suffering and my
After that, we'd be entering Hell. I don't want that.
She is a vegetable now. Would taking out the tube that keeps
her breathing be murder?It's only her brain that's gone, not
My mother enters the room. She barely acknowledges me.
She offers no sympathy to me, but rather my sister.
Why? I'm the one that's losing a sister.
My sister may be losing her life, but we're the ones that
have to live with it for however long we last.
My sister did this to herself.
She harmed herself on her own.
My father also walks in the room. He ignores me completely.
They are worried about Ruby, understandably.
She's walking a tightrope between life and death, even though
in my personal opinion, she's much closer to death.
But they feel sorry for her. I don't. If she wants to do
drugs, this is what everyone can expect.
Or maybe I'm just heartless.
I sit in the cafeteria. The warm aroma of raspberry muffins
makes me want to puke.
My brother Xavier strides in, orders two hot chocolates and
walks over to my table.
He hands me the warm drink.
''She'll be all right,'' he says confidently, but also
He believes if he never let Ruby go, she never would have
''I know,'' I reply quietly.
But I don't believe myself and I don't believe Xavier either.
Sitting back in the ICU, I hear a merry tune being whistled.
It's Dr Grayson. I know this because it's the same tune every
Oh What a Night! I hate that song now. I hate Dr Grayson just
The second Dr Grayson enters, the whistling is cut. What a
fake!Playing the ''I'm-so-sorry-about-your-daughter'' card.
At first, he doesn't say anything. Just checks monitors and
the clipboard that dangles at the end of a bed, stalling.
''I'm afraid nothing has changed. You can decide to keep her
on life support, but if nothing happens soon ...,'' Dr
Grayson trails off.
That's why I hate doctors. They never tell it to you
A few days pass, Mum is still being ridiculously optimistic,
but Ruby hasn't made purposeful movements.
I refuse to look at my sister. In this moment, I hate her.
How could she be so selfish?I watch the leaves on the trees,
transforming into their autumn costumes.
They fall to the ground. As light as feathers, the leaves
float gently to the concrete footpath.
Kind of like my sister.
Gently falling away from me, from our family tree, which
while the main support still stands, the leaves, the people
that make it what it is, are slowly fading away, one by one.
I watch as the dark grey clouds slowly roll in, like
thunderheads, tiny teardrops of rain snake their way down the
I hear the sudden beeping of the machine.
But I just look out the window. Nurses, doctors, Mum, Dad,
Xavier, whoever, all rush in for one purpose: to get Ruby
To ultimately save her life.
Mum grabs my shoulders. She shakes me and tries to make me
see that my big sister is dying.
I know that. I've accepted it. Ruby's accepted that. The only
people who haven't are my parents.
I realise my mother is crying. Unless she went out into the
rain. My mother never cries, so I assume she went into the
What a silly thing to do while your daughter's in hospital.
The paddles shock my sister's heart. Her body leaps into the
air, and then slumps back down. They repeat this three times.
Then they just stop.
Mum collapses to the ground, the tears she cried, now
imprinted on to her face.
They'll cling on forever. They'll suffocate her until she's a
tiny shell of herself.
The strong woman I've known all my life has been shrunk down
by the difference of a beating heart and a heart that beats
That war that raged within my family's minds, whether to let
Ruby go or keep holding on, it's over.
Ruby decided this one on her own. She let go of us.
• By Keely McLeod, Year 11, East Otago High School