One Last Moment

She’s gone.

He knows. No breath. No movement.

He’d lifted her from her chair to the floor when he’d found her, placing the blanket beside her that had covered her as she’d slept. When he’d set her down, he’d heard the huff of her final exhale leave her body.

He feels himself slip away from this world and enter a place he’s never been before.  He sways as he looks down on her. Her head is turned to one side. Her thinning brown hair is pressed against the side of her still beautiful face. Dressed in one of his t-shirts, her legs are bent in the same position they were when she’d fallen asleep the evening before.

Maybe she’s just- and he pushes his hands against her shoulder.

No movement.

He runs his rough fingers through his graying hair and looks about the darkened room. Everyone’s coming, he says out loud. But no one can hear him.

His daughters – their daughters – come through the front door and enter the room. Cold air follows them and sunlight spills in, but disappears quickly when the door closes. There is wailing and shuddering, and they take turns huddling over her.  They speak to her in shrill cries. I love you, Mommy, they say.

But she does not reply.

One daughter shakily pulls out lip balm.  She trembles as she smears the lotion across her mother’s lips.

A car arrives outside and he tells his daughter’s it’s time.  They stumble about the room silently, wiping the tears from their chins.

The strangers are ready to take her, so he moves away from his wife.

Wait – he whispers to them.  They step back respectfully.

He kneels down beside her again and covers her bare legs with the blanket.  As he leans in close to her face, he is once again alone with her.  He hears nothing except the beating of his own heart.  Betty, he whispers, stroking the hair away from her peaceful face.  She’s the fifteen year old girl he’d met when he was just seventeen…When she became a woman, he became a man…When she became a mother, he became a father…

When her illness seemed to steal everything from her – her ability to walk, to feed, to bathe herself – there was a constant between them: the truest love they’d each ever known.

And while he knew this moment would come, where she would leave this world, he is not ready to let her go.  He feels a panic arise in his chest.

Betty, he whispers again, placing his hand on her cold cheek.  He finds her left hand and lifts it close to him. He purses his lips, not wanting to do this, not ready to do this.  He grips the small gold wedding band from her finger, twisting it slowly as it makes its way off and into his calloused hand.  He places her hand gently at her side and stands up quickly.

It’s done, he thinks. He gives the strangers a nod, and they move in towards her.

His daughter’s, their heads down, make their way outside. Suddenly, as his girls disappear outside and out of his sight, he stops.  He opens up his fist and looks thoughtfully at the ring in his palm. Slowly, he lifts it and slides it over his pinky finger.

Knowing he cannot turn back, he walks towards the cold air coming through the wide open door, and he heads out into the sunlight.

Mom and Dad. They would’ve been together for almost 40 years now. Mom lost her battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) seven years ago at the age of 46. …Thank you for reading…

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23 thoughts on “One Last Moment

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this touching story, Jackie. It is very moving and it’s taken me a few deep breaths and several minutes to even begin this comment. I’m at a loss for words (anyone who knows me knows that’s rare). Again, thank you.

    • I am glad you were moved by it. I had never actually put it to paper before. I am really starting to feel how writing can be so healing. That’s probably why I kept a diary until I was 22 years old. Writing is probably that best therapy there is! 🙂 I’m sure you’d agree. Thank you for taking the time to read it, I so appreciate all your support. 🙂

      • You’re more than welcome, Jackie. I kept a diary myself for a year or so when my ex asked for a divorce and it was the only thing that kept me from becoming bitter. 🙂

      • Isn’t it amazing? I am sorry you had to go through a divorce, especially when you are already struggling with health issues. But I guess nothing can knock you down completely:)

      • No, as crazy as it sounds, I count the hard times before the MS, the struggles with MS and cancer and the divorce as blessings. They all made me turn inward and take a good look at myself and why I was the way I was and, most importantly, that I didn’t like who I was and make the changes necessary to become more of that person I envisioned being as a child. 🙂

      • It takes a person with a lot of insight to go down that path. My Mom always said the same thing about having gotten MS. It made her faith stronger and she was able to reflect on the person she was. It changed her in a lot of good ways. So interesting. Very happy that you are on a good path now:)

  2. This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing – I know it is very hard to lose a mother. It leaves a hole that in never filled. I hope your memories of her sustain you and you find healing through your blogging. Blessings to you.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read. Hopefully I can help others who have gone through or are going through similar situations. I think it will be healing for me as I continue to write, no matter which direction my writings go in. Thank you so much 🙂

  3. Deeply moving, beautifully captured. I’m sure it took a lot of strength to retell this story, thank you for sharing with us. I’m so sorry she had to go. I have no idea what that must be like :/ Hope you and the rest of your family is doing okay.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and for taking the time to read. I have I never written publicly about any of these things, but it has been a positive experience for me in the few weeks since I began. My family and I doing great – thank you so much. We have a love and an appreciation for one another that continues to grow. Thank you again, and I really look forward to following along with you!!

  4. A very beautiful portrayal of the depth of love your Dad and Mom shared ~ genuine love that many never know — I do believe Love like this never truly dies as it lives on in the hears and souls of those left behind. I feel so much for all of what your Mom and entire family went through with this progressive chronic illness Jackie ~ Blessings and Love always… RL

    • Thank you! Fortunately, we have all healed so much over the years. It has been a process. It only made us stronger and closer and much more appreciative of what matters in this life. My father is still very much in love with my mom. Like you said, a love like theirs can never truly die. I would like to see him move on- he deserves to. But he is not ready. I’m not sure he ever will be, but that is out of my hands. Thank you so much for your caring thoughts words….

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