My mother's passing

Her graceful fingers running through my hair and twisting loose braids.

She is strong,

yet ever-laughing with my father.

She stands stoic,

apparently all-knowing.

Palms up,

dancing together on the carpet.

And now

she sits, stiffly, as we speak with the nurse,

her mouth twisted in a grimace she attempts to hide.

And now

she lies in the bed, breathing heavily, raggedly,

her mouth gently open.

"You have to tell her it's OK to go."

It isn't.

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.

Guide that inspired this poem: 


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