GOOD NIGHT, DOLORES
Sleeping in the recliner.
Wake up with various pains on my back from trying to contort into a comfortable position.
Silence, I reach my hand up and hold my mother’s hand. It’s warm. I squeeze and feel the waxiness of her skin between my fingers, and her life is just warmth and shallow breaths now.
The sun sets on Madrid. Photographs via Flicker.
I’m sitting on her lap, we are visiting relatives and it’s the end of the night, dinner, conversation, the grown ups are still deep in conversation but children are falling asleep, my head is resting on her chest, her arms around me.
She is talking, but I only hear her voice through her chest, her voice and her heartbeat at the same time and the muffled sound makes my eyelids heavy. The memory makes my eyelids droop now as my bones try to lock into a comfortable position in the recliner.
“Good night, Dolores.” I let go of her hand and fall back into sleep, my ear pressed on the sweaty vinyl.
August sun is flooding the room and mum is still breathing.
It’s a body, a body that carried her for 72 years and now is hanging on because it is programmed to live. What is a person unless it can be manifested? Where are the signs of her? To her, thinness was illness. She didn’t see herself as healthy unless she had reached a social level of obesity. She grew up in the time when only rich people were fat. Anorexia was incomprehensible to her.
Now she was thin, very thin and beyond ill. And she was gone, but her body didn’t know how to switch off. It automatically took in the next breath, then the next, then the gasp.
I told her it was fine to go, to stop and let go, leave to that place that dead people go to, or nowhere, or just stop.
I thanked her for my life, for being my mother, for holding me, for crying with pride for me. And I told her to go, as if for once she could do something for herself.
Go, rest, enough is enough.
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