On the refrigerator is some notice from Hospice informing caretakers to attempt no resuscitation should she stop breathing.

Drove up to the house, where my father sits holding the hand of my wheelchair confined mother. Her nails are painted a garish pink, looking grotesque on her thin and mottled hands. My hands.
I see her greet my aunt with confusion. She sees me, she smiles. Absolute recognition. She flings her arms out to hug me. "Did you bring me lunch"? she asks. Confusion. She has no appetite.

The radiation treatment caused hair loss, so she shaved her head rather than suffer the trauma of waking to a hair-caked pillow.

A Buddhist woman asks me, "does she know you love her?" while I'm in a hospital hundreds of miles away.
And, do you feel so unworthy of his love?

For the first three months I was away, she called me weekly. Beyond, she wondered where I was, and why I wasn't home.

She lies on her bed in the livingroom, and says tangentially, "You're a brat." Then she smiles. And says she loves me.

who are those people? ...
aren't my flowers so pretty?
how could you ...
she's my best friend.
how could you? she's my daughter. (she says to my father, and we inform her his never, would never happen.)
I can't go, I have to take care of my little girls.
All this fire. fire. no no why no no no
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.

Her last spoken words were, "love you, love you all. come to you with thankfullness as I depart from this world."

She was as vain as a girl with recently formed breasts when she started losing weight.


She had stage IV melanoma. Eleven years before her death, she had many surgeries and chemotherapy for the melanoma tumor on her arm. Success. She had said that she needed ten more years to finish raising her children. She got 11 years.

I keep forgetting that she's dead, whether that's because I think she's still alive or that she never existed.
Soon after her death I acquired the Christian perversion of guilt. I do not understand.