The Living Room

Her hospital bed fills the end of the narrow room, a faint dent where her body had recently withered. The formal space once reserved for holidays and cocktails before dinner is now occupied by an oxygen machine and clipboards and pill bottles.

Outside the window, a red bird flits to the feeder. The seeds he seeks will never be refilled. Soon, the birds will figure this out and stop coming, the first in a long line of changes that will happen after she is dead.

I gather a couple of books and the photo of my mother with her five brothers from her bed stand. I choose a small vase from the china closet and clip a few of the first daffodils from her garden, wrapping their stems carefully in a wet paper towel and then plastic. Final pieces of home.

I wonder if these things will make a difference to her. I wonder if she’ll know they are there, or if I’m bringing them for my own peace of mind.

She wanted to die at home. But we can’t handle that. We can’t take care of her anymore, and we all know that if she dies there we’ll never be able to sit in that room again.

Dad won’t be able to live in the house anymore. And that’s not fair to him, is it? He lived in that house before he met her. They fell in love, married, raised kids in that house. He’ll spend the next six months, or year, or two just working in the garage.

Because none of us can bear to remember her slowly dying in the living room.

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Have you ever lost someone close to you?  Leave a comment…

First published at Photo credit: Eric Kilby via cc

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