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I am my mother

About 40 hours before your death, you combed your straight, fine day and applied lipstick. You were determined to get up from the hospital bed and walk the halls of the hospital.
I wanted to take a photo of you, sitting in that hospital room chair, but I didn't.
It didn't seem right, given that you weren't feeling great. You were still weak. Still sick. Still full of cancer spots. I was ready to live a few weeks at your house, with dad, to help you get stronger. Help you walk.
It was a good plan. I was more than happy to help you.
You helped me so many times. I wanted to help you.
But your body wouldn't have it. Or fate. Or God. or the sun, or moon... or stars.
And the next day, you had a perforated colon. And that was that.
There was nothing else to do. Cancer had won. It tore you apart. Essentially.
Brutally. Miserably. Without grace. Without compassion.
Cancer stripped you of any hope you had.

And our family did what it always does. It came together and decided to let you go. Not make you hold on--to machines, to false hopes, to a few days of putting you in limbo, so we could watch you struggle and scream silently. I made that decision, quickly, without hesitation. No more suffering. You were done before you even started chemo. You didn't even want that. So this was your chance to let go. And there was no other choice.

So I watched you suffer, I held your soft, kind hands, wanting to suck the pain out of them, so I could feel your pain--spare you any more pain than you had endured. I wanted to take it all away from you. You suffered for too long. You lived 'for' everyone else but yourself.
You cared less about yourself, and more about others. And you rarely wanted any credit. You just wanted us around you. You just wanted to talk to us. You just wanted to sit with us. Have a cup of tea. Eat. Watch the news. Discuss your problems. You just wanted to be near. For no particular reason. Just to be near.

It's almost a year now, to the day, that you left us. But I see you in lady bugs. In cardinals flittering about. In the wind. In a moment. In my memories. I know you're still here. In some way. In energy around me. Secretly guiding me to I don't know what. But I have faith. I just have to be patient. And I know you are there because I'm becoming you, a little bit more, with every passing day. The way I sigh. The words that fly out of my mouth. The way I clean the sink or the stove top. You are in me. And maybe that's where our spirit goes. In the living. To guide them.

Thank you for being my selfless, generous mother.

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