On Dying… She’s Dead.

She’s dead. I am on my way back home to mourn her loss. Yesterday I got a call at work and was told “if you want to see her while she is alive, you had better come now,” so I took off. We all knew she was going to die. She stopped talking last week and this week she stopped eating and drinking. Swallowing had become too painful… we think.. as she couldn’t verbalize it. The nurse said if they were to transport her to hospice, she might die en route. So they left her home to die comfortably. With her family. With those that loved her. In her own room. On her own terms. Yesterday she opened her eyes wide, gasped for air and life exited her body with an exhale… I was told.

I find myself saying “she died” so matter-of-factly and stoically then an hour later my face tightens up like a walnut and I want to scream. Scream until all the pain leaves my body. I’m not grieving her loss but I grieve the life she could have lived if given the opportunity. I grieve for everyone who is now lost without her. I grieve for the people that did not respect her as much as they should have. I grieve because my future children, if I have any, will never meet her.

Since being in the know about her impending death, I kept thinking of legacies and cycles. Things are cyclical. She leaves not only a legacy of persevering through adversity but she also leaves a legacy of poverty, abuse, neglect, depression, suffering…. A legacy that I have seen repeated by her progeny.

A legacy I have chosen to leave alone. To live across the country and shut my eyes and block my ears to. A legacy that whispers to me in my dreams and harasses me while I am awake. I’ll continue to persevere through adversity but all of that other shit can stay in my hometown. I’m good.


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