The house is quiet but for the spring birds singing above the distant and continuous sigh of the highway. Momma’s bedroom door is ajar and I enter to find her lying so near the bed’s edge, she is on the threshold of falling. Somehow in the night, her personalized sweatshirt has worked its way backward and I see her cursively embroidered name spelled across her right shoulder blade when the day before it covered her heart. It’s almost as if a purposeful confusion has placed it there in order that those of us in her wake are reminded of this most basic detail and will remember it to her. “Nancy. Naanncyy,” I whisper. Crouching low, I level myself with her face just as her steel blue eyes flicker open beneath the askew frames she has slept in. “Good morning little girl,” I purr. She stares out past me unblinkingly, her eyes fixed on some other world I cannot see. There is a haze covering them that magnifies her dying. My gaze is locked on her as I hold out my open palm where her morning pills lie, and in a voice just above whisper ask: “Will you take these?” Her hand reaches out from where it was tucked beneath her pillow and she is seeing me now. Rather than for the pills, she reaches for my cheek, and with heart-melting softness brushes her fingertips along it murmuring “You’re so good.” My eyes tinge emerald as they do when I am overcome, and for the briefest, impeccable moment, I am her little girl again.
Originally written March 2014