“I’ve lost my umph,” she says with a weary voice. She sounds unsure, but set all the same. “I’m sorry, Mom. You were stronger. You’re transfusions were getting further apart. But, now…” I say. She says, “I know.”

“So, are you taking it easy today? Or do you have some plans?” I ask. “I actually have an appointment at the cemetery today to talk about a niche for ashes,” she says and chuckles a bit. I pause. “Okay. Well, let me know how it goes. You really are getting things ready, huh?” I say. “Lots of people do these things before they die or get sick,” she says, “I think I need to stop talking to you kids about it. I’m definitely upsetting some of you…maybe all of you.”

“No, I want to know,” I say bravely, “I want to know what you’re thinking, what you want, what you are doing.” I really mean it, sort of. Sometimes I don’t mean it. I listen as she goes down the list of things she wants, prices she’s found, and things she doesn’t care about. My chest hurts.

“I love you, Mom.” “Love you too.”

I’m tired of this conversation. She is too.

We both pause. We make other appointments to see each other. To play. To celebrate her birthday, her life.

I wonder silently if she will like her story I’ve been working on. I think of the editing I need to do. “I have to go,” I say as the girls descend upon me full of life and questions and needs and love.


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