Time to Go
My eyes are hot with unshed tears
My chest is tight with muffled sobs
I am choking
on stifled howls of grief -
My mother is dying.
It isn't fair.
We had so little time together,
to laugh, to love, to share.
She's going now, no choice in that,
just how. She chose to stop fighting,
to tame the pain with drugs.
I respect that.
What use is an extra day,
an extra week, an extra month
filled only with endless agony?
I take her outside to look at the flowers;
I name the blooms, name the colors and she remembers them.
I sing to her as we go.
Sometimes she lifts her voice to join mine.
Was that so very long ago when we sang together often?
I smile and tell her stories,
tales of my children,
the grandchildren she hardly knows.
I help her bathe. How frustrating for her,
so independent, to need help with her toothbrush.
I tuck her in at night, and say, Mother, I love you.
She says, Thank you.
I push her chair, then we stop
to watch a group of deer, in the dusk,
feeding in the field. There are six of them.
Or perhaps seven. One wiggles its ears, snorts and bounds off.
The rest follow, with great strides and much leaping,
white tails flipping some code string in the night.
She doesn't want to go in until the last one has been gone
for long moments, and the night chill begins to penetrate her afghan.
I read to her, rub lotion on her feet
and feed her ice cream a spoonful at a time.
I wash her clothes and shorten pants that have become too long.
I love her the best I can in the short time we have.
I forgive her.
I think she forgives me.
I love you.
I always have.