I woke up early and showered. Mom and auntie S were having coffee. The weather was threatening to change. Snow was on the horizon.
Continental breakfast at the hotel served us well. The biscuits and gravy made it the best yet. A little yogurt and a cup of tea and we were on our way.
We wandered the halls of the now familiar hospital. You were in your room, a smile on your face. Today you would get your tummy tapped. You were delighted that you would be able to lose this discomfort that the cancer had weighed on you.
You asked me to come along.
I don’t think we’ve ever laughed so hard. We joked about your belly. We laughed at cancer. We talked about our boys. You told me I needed to bring my boys to you. I promised I would.
I held your hand as they drained the fluid from your already sore abdomen. Your body shrinking once again to the tiny portions I had sadly come to know. Each of your bones visible, no fat to hide your pain, no muscle to hold you up.
Back in your room we sat together, the women of our family. We laughed again. We relived all of the days we have passed together. We talked about your birth, what a difficult baby you were. But how I loved you, even then. We sang songs, we shared our favorite movies and movie lines with each other. You asked auntie S. about her man. You grinned at how sweet she was when she talked about him.
Almost the entire day passed like this was simply a reunion. It was truly reminiscent of our time in Nashville together. The stories, the laughter, the love. Oh the love in the room that day.
And you were you, 100%. And we didn’t talk about cancer and we didn’t talk about dying. We simply celebrated you, all of us really. We were laid back and relaxed, like we had all the time in the world.
Then our time with you was over. It was time for you to spend time with dad and Lori. To share all of you with them. They needed the same time with you that we had gotten. It was important for all of us to have a little piece of you to hold in our hearts. Even in these hours you were the one giving the gifts.
Mom, auntie S. and I headed out to brave the snow. We were craving Mexican cuisine. We asked at the hospital lobby and they directed us to a nearby restaurant. We drove and drove and, of course, got lost. We smiled and giggled because it was something only you would do. We did come upon the restaurant somehow. We ordered margaritas and toasted you. We toasted your life. We shed a tear for how much we will miss you.
We didn’t know that these would be among your last lucid moments. But if tomorrow never came we were certainly prepared and had spent the special moments.
Soon they would move you to the hospital closer to your home. I promised you I would bring you my boys and I did it. I drove home and gathered my family and drove back to you the very next day – Keegan’s 3rd birthday. And you surprised him with a birthday party because you were always thinking of everyone else.
Looking back I cherish that day with all of my heart. If there was ever a way to say goodbye forever to someone that was it. We said all of the things we needed to say. We shared all of the stories and laughs that we had to share. We planned out the future for you and your family. The planets aligned to make something beautiful and when they shifted slightly I would be ok to let you go.