My mom died. After 25 days in the hospital, she inexplicably and quite unexpectedly died. She had three surgeries in 12 days and was nearly healed and ready to go home when a damned simple procedure I would have moved heaven and earth to prevent caused her to bleed massively and swiftly. With no blood to supply the heart, she coded twice. Brought back from the brink of death, she was medically sedated the last week of her life as they worked to repair the damage caused by that fucking simple procedure (which I certainly would have never allowed had I been privy to it in advance).

I’m fine. Okay so my definition of fine has changed in the last day or so but I am fine.

I find myself making lists of the things I will and will not miss. Things I wish I’d said or asked. My mom and I were never close. We were just too different. I still remember the day I realized that and the day I came to accept that just because she would never understand me, didn’t mean she didn’t love me. I never doubted that she loved me.

I thought my mom was always so critical of me but during the 25 days we had together at the hospital, I discovered so many things about her I never knew. She encouraged me to write and told me if I wanted to be an author, I needed to put feet on my dreams. So I sat in her room while she was sedated and I wrote, edited and worked on my stories. I held her hand and told her I loved her and if it got too hard, it was okay. I’d be okay. How long will it take to be okay? How long will it take before I stop feeling like I’ve lost or misplaced something important? How long before I stop picking up the phone to call her or stop climbing into the car to drive to the hospital to see her?

I helped my mom with breathing exercises before they sedated her. Ten breaths, fingers held high counting them off and encouraging her, cheering when she completed them. Ten breaths. One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten. That’s all I can manage today.


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