It’s a warm summer afternoon. A breeze ruffles the leaves on the tree outside the open window, and the flowers bow their heads gracefully. The scent of freshly cut grass drifts in.
A girl – a woman, really, but since she’s the youngest in the family, she’ll always be a girl – sits at her mother’s bedside. The hospital bed is raised up so that her mother is sitting. She is painfully thin and drawn, the battle scars of her long and valiant fight against cancer. In contrast, her youngest daughter is strong and flushed with youth, her bright hair shining in the sun.
But her mother looks better than she has in days, even weeks. She is bright and alert and smiling. The daughter is reading to her mother from The Phantom Tollbooth, which was a favorite of her childhood. Mother even jokes about the story, and they laugh together, the old voice and the young voice mingling together with shared joy.
When the daughter is ready to leave that evening, the mother says to the nurse, “I’d like to fly!” The nurse, who knows and loves her, says, “You do? Well, I’ll get you some ativan.” Mother says happily, “I want to hang glide!”
The nurse goes out to get the medication. A doctor, who has overheard the conversation, says, “Let’s give her the full dose and really let her fly.” He, too, has become fond of her, as has most of the staff during her long stay at the hospital.
The nurse gives the mother the medication and asks, “Are you flying now, honey?”
Mother says, “I’m flying! I’m flying!”
Those were her last words.
I hope she is flying.
We love you, Mom. Always and forever. And just as we once shared a body and a soul, we will never be separated.