She called her mother. The hospice nurse held the phone up to her mother’s ear.
She listened patiently and waited quietly while her mother went through her usual monologue. Even in this mostly paralyzed state, her mother still wanted to fight.
When her mother’s garbled tone subsided to a childlike grumble about the weather and her various pains, she knew it was her chance to speak.
She had decided to call to say this one thing. She wasn’t sure why she needed to say it, but the reasons sort of didn’t matter.
She said it very loudly and very clearly because she thought it was likely the last time she would speak to her mother, the last few days before her mother would slip forever into the impenetrable fog of her disease.
“I love you, Mom.”
She heard fumbling and rustling, the nurse speaking in the faraway background, and then a quiet click. And then just a long silence that blanketed all the space between them. She put down the receiver and sat for a moment. She had said what she wanted to say. It didn’t matter that her mother didn’t respond in kind.
She walked out into the sunshine.
She felt good. Really good.