There was nothing on the nightstand but your glasses and ereader. Pooled in a small beam of light they stood out in the corner of the room. A pair together they summed up all of you. The bespectacled and the well-read. That was all I could say I knew of you. Always reading. Always with a book. Curled away in a corner.
Looking just past the table the sheet was crisp and looked newly laundered. Starchy but serviceable. A pale seafoam colour. A bold choice for a hospital.
Under the blanket, you lay. I wish peacefully. It pained me to look how pained you looked. No gentleness to your departure. But then you weren’t always gentle. You were fair. So, this was fair. Like reading alone on the settee. While we bustled around you disturbing your peace, you didn’t include us. You fairly gave us our space to have yours. You didn’t even wait for us to say goodbye. Was this always the plan?
Looking upon you now as that sunbeam travels across the room I am bewildered. Unmoored once again. Orphaned x 2. But am resigned to the fact yes this is what was likely always going to happen. You weren’t going to stay behind and walk with us. You gave up, that I’m convinced. Long before even any of us knew. Long before we began diminishing in numbers.
I comb your hair. And marvel at how your skin was always so pale. Blue veined porcelain skin I didn’t have. It was very soft. You’re gone. You willed yourself to go. If your will could have manifested in resurrecting the dead you most certainly would have opted for that choice. Instead, you controlled what you thought you could. Your end.
I say goodbye. Having been through this already so close to the first farewell I just feel, done. It’s a period at the end of a sentence. All done. Sign here. And I do.
We depart the warm but still very much a hospital room. Someone will collect you and your other things later. The whirlwind from admissions to palliative graduation was a lot like you, organised, stubborn and competent.
Mere hours later we’re all gone. On a plane to fulfill the previously departed wishes. Ironic. Symbiotic. Coincidence. Who’s to say. But if you did have anything to say about it surely it would be this is how it was always going to be. We just weren’t paying close enough attention. Maybe.
At 30,000 ft. there is lots to think about. But I can’t recall too much thinking. Or feeling. Just a soft hole sinking in my chest. Like the ones you make with your finger in the sand. It never quite fills back up, its indentation easy to spot even as the tide works to wash it away.
I look at the waning sun high above the Atlantic. I do wonder if there is anything else out there. If there is any point to all this ending. And I don’t know. Didn’t have an answer. But now? Now I can’t say I have much more of one. However, I do have feeling. A feeling I never properly shared. One I just never thought to share, even as I grew and had a child of my own and identified wholly as progeny protector. I do know something more of you.
You were a good mum.
You were a good mum. I don’t think I ever said that to you. I talked to you almost every day. I didn’t always agree. In death, I truly hated what you had become. I was angry with you for things you did as a person. But you were a good mum.
I’m sorry I never said those words. I know how one longs to hear them. Aches to hear them. Truly how much those words can boost your confidence and capabilities in a job that comes with no manual. The only equipment, a heart.
You were a good mum.
I loved you.
I love you always.
I miss you forever.
Our hearts are legacy items. We take them out when we love another and entrust them to souls to keep passing that love on.
You gave us your heart.
I’ll pass it on.
You were a good mum. x