Sunday, June 4, 2017

Beauty in Twilight, Part Three

It was oozing a hot tropical rain when I landed in West Palm. My brother picked me up at the airport in my mom's white Mini Cooper and took me straight to my mom's house.

I walked in, set my bag down, and went directly to her bedside. Since I'd been here two weeks ago, she had been moved from her bed to a hospital bed. Her face was even more sunken; I hadn't thought that possible.

I took her hand. "Say something," my aunt encouraged. "Let her know you're here."

"Hi," I said. "It's me, Paul."

My aunt leaned over and said louder, "Celeste. Paul's here. They're all three here."

Her eyes drifted open. She looked up at me and smiled. "Everybody's here." It was somewhere between a question and  statement. "Everyone's here," my aunt assured her.

She looked at my brother, Carlton, and she looked at me. "I'm dying," she told us.

It was 7:00, and before the day nurse left, my mom asked her for a hug. I hugged her, too. We all did. We sat and held her hands. I told her that Elise wished she could be here and that she loves her. I told her Sam and Peter and Clementine all send their love.

A little while later, the nurse gave her morphine. I moved to the couch in the living room to let her rest.

"Gofrane!" She shouted from her bed. We all stood to see what she needed. Was she saying 'girlfriend', asking for my aunt.

"Gofrane!" She repeated.

"Zofraine?" Jackie offered, the name of the anti-nausea medication.

"I WANT TO GO," she said.

My aunt, Jackie, leaned in, "Celeste, let go. You can let go."


I moved to the far side of the bed and took her hand. I bent down to her ear and told her, "We're all here and we're happy and healthy and safe. And we all have someone who loves us and will take care of us just like you did all these years. You don't have to fight anymore. We're going to be okay."


She gradually drifted to sleep, her wish made clear and her arms crossed on her chest. There was nothing else she could do....nothing else any of us could do but wait.

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