Arista was awake when I got to the hospital. Because of the pain in her legs she was almost always put on sleeping meds, so this was a little unusual. A nurse told me that she had asked to stay awake so that she could see me.
I put the rose I had picked for her in a glass of water by her bed, and it made her smile. I realized I hadn't seen her smile since she'd come out of her coma, even though she used to smile all the time before the accident.
"A rose, Daddy," she whispered, pointing. "What is it for?"
I touched her hair gently. "It's for you, baby. I saw a pretty rose bush, and it told me, "Give one of my flowers to Arista and tell her that the whole world loves her."
Arista smiled and sank back into her pillow. "I'm sleepy," she said softly. "Can you tell the lady to make me go to sleep now?"
At that moment a nurse came into the room and smiled at Arista. "How are we doing in here?" She asked.
"My daughter wants her sleeping meds," I told her, and Arista nodded and closed her eyes. The nurse gently placed an IV tube into her arm.
"Tell me a story, Daddy," she begged and yawned. I took her small hand in mine and softly began to recite a poem that she used to love when she was younger.
Life is like a rose
It sprouts before it grows
When it's petals unfurl against the sun
Every notices, and marvels at its young beauty
But eventually, the blossom begins to wilt
Because no rose can bloom forever
And soon it returns to earth
Only to sprout again