This week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge is The End of a Long Journey. I tried to come up with a different idea but all I could think of was my mom and the last day we spent with her as a family. It’s not fiction, but it’s all I got.
ONE LAST DAY
We told stories and shared memories built up over all of our lifetimes.
She lay there in her bed, gently reclined so she could see out. She was watching, listening, unable to speak but telling us with her eyes how much she loved seeing us all together again. How special the day was. How special we all were.
We had known this day was coming. Since her diagnosis it had been inevitable that it would arrive. It was just a matter of when.
“When” was today.
We gathered at the hospice center that morning, each of us arriving in our own time, coming in until we were all there. We sat in the lobby until a counselor took us into a private room and told us what would be happening that day.
I wasn’t really listening. Forgive me; I was a little distracted. I knew they were going to disconnect her from the ventilator and then we were going to spend the day with her and show her how much we loved her and how much she meant to us.
They had us tell her good bye before they disconnected her. They said there was a chance she wouldn’t survive it. That was when we truly let her go, I think. Tears fell like rain and we held each other when we weren’t holding her. Finally we left the room.
She made it through with no problems, though. In our hearts, we’d known she would. She was always a fighter. She always came through.
We spent hours with her that day, and our love and laughter ignited her spirit and she smiled and the sun came out from behind the clouds. For the first time in months she was as she had been my entire life. For the first time in months she was completely with us and we embraced her, physically and emotionally. We gave her everything we had until it overflowed then she gave it back to us two, even three-fold.
It was one of the greatest days of my life. It was a day I will never forget.
We said good bye to her again as we left, but it wasn’t final this time. We’d told her that good bye earlier in the day. This one just was just a regular good bye, a temporary one. We’ll be back tomorrow, we said. We’ll see you then. We kissed her cheek and hugged her neck, and we told her we loved her. She smiled out at us, making sure we knew that she returned the sentiment.
She slipped away from us just before my wife and I arrived back the next morning. We gathered together again and we cried, but we’d told her good bye the day before. She knew we loved her. We had given her one last day of love and family and of all of us together.
She was gone, but she was still with us. She is with us still, in our heads and in our hearts, and in our souls, where she will always live, strong and joyous and dancing up a storm.