Today’s post is the product of a free writing exercise I did in a class last week. The instructions were:
- Write for 20 minutes without stopping
- No editing, no going back and changing what you wrote
- Theme: I will never forget…
With the exception of small edits like spelling, the text below is untouched. I’m sharing this piece because I want to recommend letting your mind relax and seeing where a similar exercise takes you. Reflecting on the piece, it reveals (some of) where I am in “letting go” of my mom. Also sharing is caring 🙂
I will never forget the day my mother died. She was 54 and I was just shy of my 21st birthday. My sister, brother and I were taking turns at the hospital where my mother was in some in-between palliative care unit. I had just finished my shift for the day. I slept over the night before. There were no beds so I made myself comfy on the floor next to her. We had been doing this for over a month. Breast cancer metastasized in the bones, brain & chest were the culprit. Holy Shit! My back was aching everyday at that point. Not from sleeping on the floor but from tensing my body so tight fearing the moment my mom decides to go. The tightness in my body pervasively ached to the center of my bone. If you could see the fibers connecting the tissues of those bones, they would be aching too. As a family we collectively lost the weight of a small child. The nurses were all so kind to force us into getting food and rest. But who can rest under circumstances like these? Who has an appetite when their mother can hardly eat, pee or breathe on her own? So I left that night and passed the responsibility of keeping my mom company to my sister. About two hours later I got a call from my sister. Words weren’t necessary. Her silence and soft whimpering told me that she was gone. My brother and I rushed back to the hospital before the warm blood could dissipate from her body. By the time I got there, her hands were starting to get cold. I’ve never seen nor touched a dead person before. Let alone one who was my mom. I felt so numb seeing her. I lay over to give her my last kiss goodbye. Her mouth was wide open, like an old man snoozing under the afternoon sun. Except there was no warmth there. I kissed her on the cheek and said “goodbye.” The skin was cold at that point and I knew the road ahead was going to be just as hard as the road that brought me to the side of my mother’s deathbed. It wasn’t fair. Not for me but my brother. He was only 14 at the time and we already didn’t have a dad. A father yes but someone to call dad, no. It’s not fair that my brother was stuck with me and my sister. We never got along and now we were tasked to raise him. Good god. I would have run away at that point if I were him. But no. He remained the strongest out of the three of us. He cried once, that night and exclaimed how unfair this was. I’ve never heard another peep or another tear from him again. My sister and I were clearly the emotional ones.