It’s been seven years, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was sometime after midnight, and I was wearing an oversized blue sweater with a pair of pink Victoria’s Secret sweats that I stole from her closet. My sister and I were each clenching tight to one of her hands, while my brother sat on the couch across from us with his elbows on his knees, hunched over in disbelief but prepared accept whatever was about to come his way. He was 16. My dad sat at the end of her bed, probably rubbing her feet—she always loved when he did that—but I couldn’t tell you for sure because I didn’t have the courage to look his way in those moments.
Her breathing had slowed, but with each inhale we could hear the agonizing sound of water that had begun filling her lungs—a sign the inevitable was about to come.
And within minutes, the inevitable did come.
My mother took one final, slow breath.