I know it’s kinda late, it’s been 28 years ago, and I know you kinda don’t care, you being dead and all. But I wanted to say I am really really sorry for what happened that night.
You were my best friend and my strongest advocate, you fought for me when everyone thought I was stupid and broken — and I failed you.
When you got sick with cancer again, I was 15 and considered myself independent and all grown up. After all, I was ditching school to take you to chemotherapy and none of the teachers dared to say a word. I was not prepared to what happened next.
You were fighting cancer for the 2nd time - last time you won, but this time it was different. The cancer has spread into your brain and you were fading away in front of our eyes, in the most horrible way. Your mind, your absolute brilliant mind, was dying first. At first you could not remember certain words, a week later, you could not form complete sentences. The cancer took away your super hero power — your words. You, who wrote hours every day, and spent days debating anything from ethics to politics with me, could not speak.
It was 2 weeks before you passed away. Dad went to run some errands and me and Sarai (my sister, your daughter) were left with you. I remember, you were sitting in the middle of the living room, on a plastic chair. Your clothes were too big on you by now, laying like dirty curtains on your skeleton body - you were so skinny and pale.
You made some noise and Sarai and I came over and were standing in front of you in the living room.
“bathaaerm” you said.
You looked at me. Your eyes that were once filled with love, were empty. No recognition, no love, dead.
“bathaaerm” you said softly and sadly.
“what is she saying” I asked Sarai.
“I don’t know!” Sara was starting to freak out.
“bathaaerm” you said.
“I think she needs to go to the bathroom!” said Sarai in an anxious voice.
I did not know what to do. I stood there scared, sad, and embarrassed — I was at a complete loss. You raised your hands to me, like a child that wishes to be carried by their parents.
I tried to lift you, but it was impossible. I started by trying to help you stand, but you were flaccid. I tried to pull you, but you just slid back to the white chair. You were not gripping back, your hands were not holding mine. it was like lifting a sack of sand. You kept falling back to the chair, moaning in pain every time you fell back to the hard plastic. All my teenage bravery faded away… I was helpless.
“bathaaerm!” you moaned sadly, your eyes were not focused now, and a smell of urine started filling the room.
You were my best friend in the world, and I ran.
Sarai ran after me.
We got to my room and Sarai was screaming at me “do something! do something!” she was only 12 and her little hands were hitting my chest.
I freaked out, I just snapped.
“She is not our mother! don’t you get it! That is an empty shell out there. She is already dead! That is not our mother!” I screamed back.
“Don’t say that!!” cried Sarai, hitting my chest with her hands.
Tears were dropping down both our faces.
The house door opened and dad came in, we run to the living room to see him take you in his hands. Lifting you like a child to the shower.
I don’t remember the rest of the day. I actually totally suppressed this memory for the last 28 years. But then, while commuting home from San Fransisco, and listening to an audio book, I remembered. The book mentioned the crappy horrible things that happen in families with sick parents, and I started to cry. It all came back.
I am so so so sorry.
You were my best friend, my mom, I loved you.
I hope you did not hear me, or didn’t understand the horrible things I said. I hope you forgive my inability to help you, when you needed me the most. You were so brave all my life, and I failed you.
I love you.