I held her bloated, wrinkle-covered hand through the rails of the bed. Her eyes were closed in slumber and her short white hair lay flat against her head.
I stroked the hair she used to color a burnt red until she tired of covering up the white. The mix on her hair while she waited for it to process was sludge-like and I nearly threw up once. I was glad when she stopped coloring it. The white hair suited her natural beauty.
In her waking moments, her eyes no longer held the sparkle they once did. It felt like the shell of her lay before me instead of the vibrant woman who was my equalizer. She ensured I had a measure of fairness when the world chose to beat me down.
I was in the midst of another beat down.
It wasn’t fair.
But I couldn’t ask her to keep fighting when she had nothing left. It was selfish of me. She waited at death’s door and held onto the last tendrils of life for us.
I knew it was time to say goodbye even if I didn’t want to.
“You don’t need to take care of us anymore, Gram. You did it long enough. It’s time for you to rest.” I choked back the tears. “We’ll be okay. You taught us well.”
I stood and kissed her forehead tenderly knowing it would be the last.
“I love you, Gram.”
©Debi Smith, 2014