“Cynthia?” he called out. Geesh, you’d think he’d know she goes by Cindy. “Cynthia, darling, time to go.”Mom was late for everything her whole life, she wasn’t about to be on time now.
“I’m not ready,” she squeaked. “Can you at least wait ‘til my kids get here? They’re flying in. I would like to say good-bye to them.”He adjusted his shadowy black hood and gave a sigh. It was a lingering sigh, the kind that steals the energy from a room.
“Cynthia, I’ve been waiting for over two years now.”“Then what’s five more days?”
She had a point. He walked out without turning around. I heard him say, “I am coming back, though, you do know that, Cynthia.” It sounded like a threat. And then he was gone.My sister flew in, as did my uncle, my step-dad, and assorted random cousins who I only saw once a year or less. What is the saying? Families always come together for weddings and—
“Funerals. I hate funerals,” said my brother-in-law, as he got an apple out of the refrigerator. “They’re so … so … final.” He sort of whispered the word final, the way we had all been whispering cancer.The nurse told me someone was at the back door, and I was relieved to see that it was my brother. Mom moved her pillow and struggled to sit up in bed a little when the nurse escorted him into her bedroom.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” she said, and then she began to cry. I couldn’t tell if they were tears of joy or sadness or just relief.“Me, too. Me, too.” He hugged her tight, and she groaned in pain. Cancer is not for the weak.
As promised, Death showed up exactly five days later. We were hoping he’d forget.“I’m sorry, Cynthia, I know this is hard,” he extended his hand to her. “But look at the bright side: you already know some people up there! Your mom, your dad, your aunts!”
It was strange hearing him talk about a "bright side." I always believed he was all doom and gloom, but it turns out he was more sympathetic than I thought.Mom reached for her purse, out of habit, and Death stifled a small laugh. “Cynthia, you won’t need that. I promise.”
And like that, they were gone.MOV