Last Rites

You lay before me, so still

Skin pallid, and lips the blue of twilight.

Your face inaminate,

No quirked eyebrow or mischievous smile.

Your absence is still incomprehensible

In the light of this terrible morning.

I kiss your cool forehead,

Thinking of the trials and turmoil,

Of  this path of pain we travelled together.

When everyone left, it was always you and I who remained,

to weather the storms of illness, or some new loss from your traitorous genes.

And here we are again my love.

I always said I would do anything for you,

From love, and for steadfast presence in all the difficult moments.

So I begin this, knowing only that it is a testament

Of my love for you.

Slowly, I bend to reach the basin,

Warm, soapy water slipping through my trembling fingers.

Washing your skin, tenderly, touching every scar.

Removing the tracheostomy tube, and the g-tube you hated so much

Wanting every artificial adjunct to your life

Out of your tortured body.

I would not, could not leave you now,

In these last moments together, that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I will know that we had this time,

That I held you once again, as I did on that morning 20 years ago,

When we were still innocent and unknowing,

And our joy was untouched by sorrow.

2 thoughts on “Last Rites

  1. glendalandis July 13, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Thank You for sharing this precious holy time you had, as you mothered your beloved child. Such a bitter/ sweet experience. I am so glad Daniel loved , & remains loved by his family.Love remains.

  2. Sally Derstine July 13, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    Your words beautifully and exquisitely capture your tender, abiding love amidst great pain and sorrow. You are a wonderful mother and writer, Janet.

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