Instructed to write this prompt in three stanzas (before, during, after)
I remember it well. The doctors called us in, sat us down and said, “Your mom has about two weeks left to live.” My sister started to cry. I was numb. “There’s nothing else we can do.” They continued, “No more chemo. We’ve exhausted all treatments.” “We will try to make her as comfortable as we can.” Mom lasted six days.
We worked in shifts at my mom’s bedside. She could no longer speak.
Faint motions and grunts or moans were her only form of communication; she didn’t have the strength to chew or swallow. We slept at the hospital those last days. I thought about all the hell I gave my mom growing up, always feeling like she hated me. I was the rebel: my sister, the angel.
The morning of the end. I washed my mom’s face, combed her hair, rubbed her legs and give her a kiss on the forehead. Turned on the radio and paused, looking around the room at flowers and cards (get-well cards made no sense. I was angry – who the hell gives a get well card to someone with terminal cancer). I whispered in her ear that I’d be right back, making a run to the cafeteria. When I got back with my bagel and tea, she was gone. She died alone because I was hungry. If only I’d waited. My final screw-up.
My mom and I had a contentious relationship. Although I never felt close to her, it was tough watching her deteriorate – maybe that’s why I left my sister to deal with the appoints and chemo treatments and medications. From the time she first heard that she was sick, she never wanted any of us to say “cancer.” My mom – A strong, beautiful renaissance woman; She could do anything, except …
I promised myself I wouldn’t edit my earlier work, but it’s difficult.
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