Good-bye

I sat with you in your hospital room days before Mother's Day 5 years ago. It felt like a scene from a sci-fi movie with all the gauze wrapped around your scalp, the spillage of wires coming from your body, the strange constant harmony of beeping from the many machines around you, and the disturbed sounding breaths escaping your mouth. You were not my mother in that bed, life had already left you, and I was convinced Darth Vader's cousin had taken over your remains. It was so heartbreaking to see you like this, there were only small untouched parts of you that were recognizable and I tried hard to only focus my eyes on those. We sat with you for days, praying for a miracle, I begged and pleaded for the first couple days, "Mom, open your eyes!" but nothing changed and every time the doctors made their rounds, the news grew more and more grim. Over the course of almost a week, we had several meetings with your treatment team where we sat in a stale room, and made end of life decisions... would we feed you, drug you, and finally, when would we turn the machines off. When it was time, I held your hand and spent the next few hours trying to soothe you with my voice, telling you it was ok to go. Every time a strange unhuman like noise left your body, I had to fight the urge to run out of the room, I wanted to pretend so badly that this wasn't happening, but I stayed, I couldn't let you be alone. No one should have to die alone, and if this was my one last gift I could give you, it was holding your hand as you died. I dedicate this image to my mother, a much better version of goodbye.