‘Write hard and clear about what hurts.’ ~ Ernest Hemingway
That’s how long it has been since I lost my mother.
I remember the day she died with a clarity that has never faded over the years. I can see her, clear as day, lying there in her final moments and knowing I was helpless to do anything to save her.
I sat beside her on the bed, willing her to hold on, but knowing the only thing I could do was let her know it was okay to go.
That rattle every time she breathed in. You think that’s added to scenes in films to evoke emotion? It’s not.
That last snippet of strength the dying cling to before slipping back into lucidity? That’s real, too.
I clasped her hand in mine, stroking my thumb against her cold skin and praying to whatever God that might possibly be out there to stop her pain. I sat, watching her, tracing the lines on her face, listening to that rhythmic, haunting rattle. And my heart broke.
I watched her last breath and I knew no more would come. I just clasped her hand tighter still, the grief cascading through me with a ferocity that physically hurt.
I couldn’t find the words to tell my sister she had gone.
Less than two months before, my father had stood in the kitchen and said, ‘she might make it ’til Christmas, but don’t bet on it.’ That was the first I knew that she wouldn’t make it through.
You know what else is true in the films? That moment when they say, ‘I never told her that I loved her.’