Her graceful fingers running through my hair and twisting loose braids.
She is strong,
yet ever-laughing with my father.
She stands stoic,
dancing together on the carpet.
she sits, stiffly, as we speak with the nurse,
her mouth twisted in a grimace she attempts to hide.
she lies in the bed, breathing heavily, raggedly,
her mouth gently open.
"You have to tell her it's OK to go."
Holding her hand and laying a hand on her forehead.
"It's OK to go."
Over and over whispered.
Her last breath is imperceptible. So subtle the transition from a heartbeat to the lack of one.
Still whispering to her. Still holding on to her hand.