Summary: A mother's last moments with her daughter.
I once heard a man say aloud "May you die before your children", but I couldnever comprehend exactly what he meant, whether it was an insult or a warning,a blessing or a curse. I simply didn't understand.
I do tonight.
For on this night, my daughter is dying. Long before her time should havecome, she is lying, with fading breath and white cheeks, cradled in my arms,looking tiny, even smaller than I thought her ever to have been.
//May you die before your children//
A blessing, that's what it is. If I'd died first, I would never have known thepain of such a loss, this loss of my hope, this eternal loss of my life. Yes,I shall live still, but death, death has come upon me with the loss of my baby,this little one that I gave life...my life, to.
I will breath, I will walk, I will eat...
But I will not live.
But see now, see how perfectly she fits within my arms, how obvious it is thatshe's mine. I can see myself in every part of her face, the tiny dimples andthe huge blue eyes, now shut tightly against the light and the pain. Would sheopen them just once, once more for me, so that I could see myself in theirlight, and perhaps lose myself with her into the void.
Wake up, my little one. Wake up, my child.
And tell me it's morning and not yet night.
I wonder where's the cross that I gave to her. Did they take it off? Take itoff to make room for these endless wires, these tubes and machines that havedone nothing for her and myself, except prolong our inevitable fate. My mothergave me that cross, yes, as her mother did before her. It is our talisman, thesymbol of our faith in a kind God...a generous God.
The One whom I am still praying to, even at this very moment, asking if Hewould please, please, please change His mind.
But, in my heart, I know that is not His plan.
So, I hold her still, my tiny one, my mockingbird, the life that has imitatedmy own, with every motion, every breath of hers having come from my bones andmy blood and my soul. She and I are mirrors of one another and without her, Iwill be nothing but an echo of what I once was. I pull her tighter and marvelat her, for her beauty still shines for me.
How soft is my daughter's hair against my cheek.
How sweet is my baby's skin against my lips.
Let her go, I hear a voice say. You have to let her go. Yes, you've had heronly for this short time, but you know that a lifetime would never have beenenough.
Let her go."Darling girl," is the whisper I hear, but I'm not sure if it is my voice thatis speaking. "Go now, baby girl. Mommy says it's all right to go. Mommy willbe with you someday, darling one. My little one."
I kiss her one last time, her lips warm still, just before the beeper cruellysounds...
A death knoll for a child and her mother.
"Goodbye my darling girl," I whisper again.
"Goodbye, my darling Melissa."