Waiting

It’s two thirty in the morning. The room is thirty degrees Celsius. In parting, the nurse told me the whole place was hot. They had turned down the heat in every room.

Here I sit, almost boiling.

The open window does not bring in fresh air. It’s two degrees Celsius outside but it must be afraid of death because the cool air is not coming in here.

I made a mental note to ask the next shift of family watchers to bring the fan from home. It was intolerable.

In sleep, her hands, her beautiful hands are curled up, just bones , flesh faded away, the tendons and the veins standing out but the skin folded inward.

I tell you all this because though it is hard to see her leaving us, it is beautiful and it is a privilege to be here.

A privilege to have her as our mother. A privilege to live beside her these last twelve years in life. A privilege to accompany her to death’s door and to her release.

Behind her temples, a declivity has formed, a hollow that hugs the skull. Her tiny ears seem large; her eyes are inset now, tiny slits that can barely open. When they do, tiny blind pupils seemingly look back at you with intensity. She can not see. Closed again, it is as if the lids were stitched together with tiny even sewing points, like Granny used to make, by hand.

On her cheek bone, a yellow flesh pad remains and a small pouch of the same goes beside her nose towards her mouth. The rest of the cheek is hollow and grey.

The nurses come and go. Mother is just the same, quiet for a while, breathing shallow breaths, breaking into agitation as the morphine loses its hold on her. Her hand rests in mine until I rise to give her water. Soon this must end.

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