They stood huddled together, arms around each other for support, for love, for sharing. One man stood apart, looking at them. Strangely, tears were running down the pale cheeks of the group before him: wife, son, mother, stepfather.
The group had been there for a long time, standing at what seemed to be the edge of the world. They were looking up into the sky. A rainbow shimmered where the sky kissed the earth. It hovered for a while, bringing hope that fluttered back and forth like a fragile butterfly.
Now, the rainbow quivered, and sank below the horizon as black clouds filled the sky. Hope, like the butterfly, was gone.
The group turned, as one, and looked at the solitary man. He took a step forward into the long black tunnel that beckoned him. He smiled because he didn't know, didn't understand that the tunnel had no end, no return.
No cure. No treatment. Those words had pierced the hearts of these people for many months, as they waited patiently, hopefully, for new theories to come forth, new medicines to be discovered. None came. And the words continued to bounce back and forth, almost like a dodge ball game. Except this was no game, this was life. His life.
The man took another step into the tunnel. The group cried out to him, to no avail. Now, he did not know them, did not remember the life he once had. He stepped deeper into the tunnel, not knowing, not understanding this was a journey from which he would not return, and one that he would travel alone.
The journey is almost over. The tunnel has been long, dark, desolate. Those he will leave behind have nothing left now but their memories: the mother remembers a small, laughing, inquisitive boy: the stepfather remembers a young man with an exciting future, the wife remembers a loving husband; and the son remembers a close and warm relationship with a loving father.
Shattered lives, shattered dreams.
My heart cries. He... is my son.