My Mother’s Last Lesson

(This essay originally appeared in Cognoscenti)

The color of death is blue. That’s what the hospice nurse told us.

We had rushed to my mother’s bedside from various parts of the country, shocked to see her so diminished. She had suffered from severe dementia for years, but her spirit had remained strong. She’d communicate her delight upon seeing one of us by popping open her eyes and flashing a mischievous smile, ever ready to be amused, always desirous of play. But this woman who’d once made all her own clothes, gracefully hosted huge parties most people would need a full catering staff to pull off, and commanded a U-Haul like a truck driver, was now the center of the grimmest gathering of them all.

As soon as the last of her five children arrived, she began to moan and unevenly gulp for air, her waves of pain evident. We had gotten there just in time. We clutched the bedrail and told her it was okay to let go.

She held on… Read the full essay here.