Dear Mom,

Walking into the ER, as the nurse took us to the conference room, I knew this wasn’t your usual ER visit. The doctor explained what we would see. Your boy put on a brave face, but his hands were shaking. He knew because the ER nurse called and asked our ETA. I had to be strong – for him, for you – but it was hard, just in case you wondered.

The machine was doing compressions on your chest, the tube was in your throat, the monitor lines flat, and the people stood so helpless. I knew this wasn’t your usual ER visit.

I promised you I would trip on the cord. Remember how we would laugh about it before you got really sick? Then, over the past few months, you were more earnest as you reminded me, “You promised. You have the papers.” You always said I would have to do it because your son could not. Innumerable were the times that you stated how different I was from him, how I was harder, I could cope.

Do you have any idea the price I pay for coping? The price of saying aloud, “Stop. Let her go.”

Someone put a chair behind me, “You can sit down.” But I couldn’t, I had to touch your hand, your face, to know that it really was you who I had abandoned on this plane. No, not the usual ER visit.

We were never “Best Friends” like some mothers and daughters. We struggled with our beliefs and opinions – arguing, finding common ground, forging acceptable terms of engagement, doing our best. Sometimes it was good enough, often it wasn’t. But still, we tried.

Yesterday I went to work. What was I thinking? Hmm, maybe that I needed to remove myself from role of grieving daughter? Anyway, you know how you kept me company driving home all these years? Well, the new normal – no phone calls. I miss you already. Most days you were the only person I talked to who wasn’t associated with work. Guess I need to get some friends like yours, eh?

I’m still trying to do right on your behalf. Honor your wishes. Take care of things as you wanted. I’m tired of adulting. I just want to cry someplace safe.

But not tonight. Tonight there is still work to do. And I’m alone, again. Love you, Mom.


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