I remember this time six years ago I went to bed oddly easily. Sometimes the stakes are so high all you feel is peace.
We had sat with Momma all day. She was wearing her new, pretty pajamas– the ones she picked out right before she went into the hospital to help her feel better. That morning someone had– after ushering us out of the room to remove all the things that had kept her alive for the last few months– changed her into the powder blue set that would have perfectly offset her hair, had she still had any.
Her eyes were closed. She was slightly less swollen than she had been, and it was so nice to see her without the web of tubes and wires. She almost reminded me of the Momma I knew. Her picture– the one from when she was happy and healthy and working at the Chamber of Commerce– was above her bed, and all the nurses told me how much I looked like her. I loved that.
We sat with her, sang to her, held her hand, rubbed her leg– each irregular beep on the monitor or jagged deep breath halting our own. She stayed alive all day. We went and got lunch, came back, still she lay, jagged breath proceeding un-aided from cracked, once-beautiful lips. Hope began to rise. “Come on, Momma! You can do it! PLEASE come back!” I hadn’t heard her voice in months, but something in me, stronger than me, was willing her to open her eyes and come back to us. Rise from her bed. Make cinnamon rolls at Christmastime. Be on the sofa in the kitchen with her coffee in the morning. Tell me how much she loved me and laugh until her shoulders shook.
She stayed alive all day.
I went to bed that night unnervingly peaceful. Almost excited about the next day– desperately hoping it would bring news that she had recovered, that her body had started to function on its own.
Tomorrow came. I should’ve been in LA driving to class on the first day of my senior year of college. Instead I awoke in my high school bedroom to silence. Hope glimmered. “If no one’s woken me up, she’s still alive!” I lay silently rejoicing, anxious and hopeful. Then I heard my dad’s phone ring from his room down the hall. And I knew.
Sometimes the stakes are so high, all you feel is peace.
I miss you, Momma.