“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You only know dear how much I love you”...
My sister and I sing with every memory we have, falling out of our mouths, and landing on what is left of her. Onto her tiny body held straight by her protruding skeletal frame. The machine, which allowed her breath, now joined her body and became part of her. The sweet machine, the life line that the doctors were removing.
Where did the rest of her go? This is Mama, the strong one. The mama who treated our booboos and tears. The mama who protected us from drunks, and druggies, and life. The one we thought would always be there for us to cling to. Ha!
Dear Lord, we are killing her! The pain that previously had called the doctor in, is slowly erased with more of her life breaths. She is drowning in it. Drowning in the pain, and in the ocean of medicine that is meant to ease her pain, but also limits her breathing. A nearby machine allows me to hear the beat of her heart as it slows. Her eyelids flicker as the machine soon echoes the piercing clamor of a quiet heart.
My tears smear the hand that I have taken to press to my cheek, pressing her into my soul. Mama ! The same way that she had held my hand the many times that I lay in the hospital as a child. The same way that she had prayed air back into my lungs, I pray it into hers. Unlike the yes that she recieved, The Lord said no to mine.
The room takes possession of my focus, anything to avoid this horror. White starched walls, cold as linen. The smell of the disinfectant mixes with the smell of our sweat soaked bodies. Expectant faces surround the bed, fearing the worst and then opening their mouths to scream her back to us. They are rewarded with beeps that begin again. To my ears, it is the drumbeats of her battle.
A horrible laughing inside grows as my eyes seek for anything else to look at. Faces, familiar and strange, as well as strange yet familiar. How they watch her die!
Here we are, my dysfunctional family. A telephone call from a prison with a son inside who missies his mom. My brothers, innocent of this harm to my soul. One of them needing to hear what is happening and the other telling her death out loud. Would she have lasted longer had she not heard the voice slide her into the grave? Maybe not.
Oh it’s so humorous, this crazy messed up family! We surround her, hoping that the damn doctors won’t cut our umbilical cord. Not believing that she would have the audacity to leave us.
Dysfunctional enough to avoid the embrace of comfort that the others might give, and functional enough to need it.
We watch her die.
“Please don’t take my sunshine away”
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