you are gone, i know this because you are wearing lipstick and it seems so not like you.
blip...blip...blip...the heart monitor metronome, accompanied by the whoosh...whoosh...whoosh... of the oxygen machine inhaling and exhaling for you, provides background noise as i watch you. your mouth hangs open in a silent scream, skin pulled tight back across your face, eyes rolled up as if you see something coming that we are unable.
this room carries the smell of the end of life, heavy, choking me as it slides down the back of my throat. the skin of your fingers is loose, as if it does not fit the strong slender bones within any more, but we hold your hand when you can not hold ours, any more. it hurts to see you this way, so unlike the life you had before the blood disease sucked you out of you.
slumping into the green vinyl chair, i can't even feel it beneath me, i just know it holds me, as i watch others grieve. they speak to you, telling you final things and we wait on that moment. i pray for it all to end, in little voices in my head, again, and again, and again as the minute hand keeps on sweeping.
you must tell her goodbye, give her permission to leave, i mumble through my hands to no one, to everyone.
will you pray with her, they ask.
try as i might to muster the words, they all stop somewhere between my heart and my mouth and though my lips move i can't make a sound, just tears. i stare at them mutely, until they ask someone else to pray. i clench my hands, angry at my weakness, my ineptitude, which will haunt me for years to come...and your last breath rattles wetly as you are released from this mortal coil.
i will deliver your funeral, consoling those still here, words flowing once again. we will lower your body into the ground, but its not you, you never wore lipstick, that's how we know. one day i will see you again, you will be beautiful, we will sit and watch a sunset and i will share with you the words i could not say in those last few moments we had together.
this is a magpie tale, about the death of my mother in law, two years ago.