One makes you smaller, and the bottle makes you disappear.

         

          I feel guilty for not going to the funeral, but at least now I think I know why I couldn’t.  In addition to difficulties with carrying Bear, it was because I couldn’t stomach the way she died.  I couldn’t shake the image of her shrunken, skeletal form.  I couldn’t recall an image of her before the cancer ravaged her luminous beauty.  Even in my memories, she’s the skeletal form I left at the beginning of March.  When I try to recall the month I spent with her the summer before it all came to an end, she’s not the vibrant beauty she was that I should remember.  She is withered, cold to the touch, and there is no blush to her cheeks.  To hold her is a nightmare.  There is nothing to firmly press against without fear of her crumbling beneath your crush.  There are only brittle bones, a cold sweat, and glazed eyes…

          I wanted to kill her.  When they asked me to give her the next dose of morphine, I wanted to give her the whole vial.  I felt that they wanted me to..  It was always kept in plain sight and it was stressed that too much would kill her, almost begging for someone to do it.  I couldn’t only because I didn’t want my children to be raised by a killer.  I was terrified that someone would cry injustice and an autopsy would reveal she had been overdosed and away I would go…  I just wanted it to be over.  Over for her, over for me, over for everyone.  I still can’t fathom that her final days were truly what she had in mind.  The few others I know with Hospice experience all agree it was peaceful and very quick.  Her death was neither.  Starving and dehydration are not pleasant at any point, let alone when you drop below 100 pounds and can longer speak or even swallow because your mouth and throat are so dry.

          I think my grief-block is there because of those last days.  I think I couldn’t bring myself to make another trip up there for the funeral because I couldn’t bear to see her again.  I can’t process what I saw because it wasn’t her.  It wasn’t the woman that everyone remarked about her beauty and her defiance of age…  The smoothness of her skin, the warmth in her smile, the inviting quality of her arms, and the openness of her heart.  It was a mere shadow of that woman…  A horrible doppleganger, a wraith, a nightmarish interpretation…  I couldn’t see it again because all I wanted was the one I remember when I was 5, 6, and even 18…  I wanted the one who made me cookies and scotcheroos, who let me help while she made homemade lasagna noodles and pudding…  The one who would sit in the bedroom window and sing "Somewhere out there" with me when I missed my deployed father…  The one who couldn’t get enough of Mega’s giggle and adored and fussed over him even when he cried…  The one who did her best to fly home whenever a new grandchild was born and though she rarely got cards or gifts out on time, never forgot a birthday or special occasion…  I wanted her back.  I want her back even now, almost 2 years later… 

          And I am angry at myself for letting her die the way she did.  As guilty as I feel for wanting to do it, I am sorry I wasn’t courageous enough to do it…  I think about those who have had to make decisions about whether or not to keep a loved one alive and I feel such admiration for them.  What strength it must take to decide to let go…  Some days I wish I had it, and others, I am glad I didn’t.  I don’t know what she thinks or even if she has an awareness of what is in my heart, but if she does, I hope she can see the whole of it.  That while I did want to it end it for my own sake, my primary reason was her.  I couldn’t (and can’t) fathom that she wanted to go out like that and I wanted to take it all away – to give her a sweet release…

          I’m sorry I couldn’t do it.  I’m sorry if even the thought makes me a monster…  But…  It was all for the love of her…   

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