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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by lifetalk on May 13, 2009
"A dying mother lives to hear her children say thank you. "

Mother's Day

Two nurses were working over Jessie. One worked to untie her hospital gown, the other prepared the morphine patch that would go on her arm.
They worked quietly and efficiently with an occasional smile or a whisper of encouragement. Jessie's son and daughter sat on the couch in the living room next to the hospital bed that had been brought in for their mother. They watched the nurses do the work for their mother that they could no longer do.

Finally, the appeal for a comfortable bed had been granted, and Jessie's sore bones were able to rest with a little less pain. The Multiple Myeloma had done its job, slowly eating enough holes in her frame to make her scans look like she was made of Swiss cheese; holes everywhere. The nurses were tender. Jessie looked up at them and whispered, "My daughter is taking me home." The nurses looked at Jessie and smiled. "Yes, you are going home, Jessie. Soon. Very soon."

Jessie's children looked out the window and stared at the snow that blanketed the farm. The wind whistled past the window, rattling the panes. The wood stove burned so hot the room was too toasty. But it warmed Jessie. And as she gazed lovingly at her children, her mind must have had many thoughts-- she knew it wouldn't be long.

Her children knew time was running out, too. Once the morphine patch kicked in Jessie's breathing would slow and eventually she would stop breathing. The struggle would be over - no more worries, no more fighting. Just blessed peace. And as the minutes started ticking faster, Jessie's daughter and son took advantage of the gift they had been given. Each told her what she meant to them. Each said she was the best, and they would not have traded her for another. They kissed and told her she was a wonderful mother. Jessie looked at them from her bed. She smiled and said, "Thank you."

As she slipped from them ever so gently, each child struggled to find a way to let her go. They stroked Jessie's head, touched her hand, put ice on her lips, and stood vigil. At six minutes after twelve o'clock noon, Jessie took her last shallow breath on Earth. The room was still except for the sounds of sobbing shaking the room. The caretakers silently left to give the family time to say goodbye.

Jessie's son and daughter held hands over Jessie's body as they said good bye and promised their mother they would take care of each other and told her not to worry about them. She had taught them well.

They wrapped Jessie in her favorite pink and white fleece blanket. Jessie's daughter combed her mother's hair and put lipstick on her as the hearse waited outside. Her daughter had promised that she would make Jessie beautiful before she left the house for the last time. Jessie's grandson ran to kiss her, stroking his beloved's hand. When she was ready, the undertaker entered the room to put Jessie in the body bag that laid unzipped and ready for her. Her daughter could not watch. She lowered her eyes, but not before she saw the shiny fender of the hearse just outside of the corner of the window. Patiently waiting.

In what seemed like a dream, the door of the hearse closed and made its way down the long and winding gravel drive, carrying Jessie.

On Mother's Day a few months later, Jessie's daughter placed a pair of feathered wings on Jessie's picture. Blue eyes smiled back. A perfect gift for a perfect mother.

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