Hmm, well... This is more of an incoherent rant than anything else. I'm not really looking for replies, just making a half-assed attempt to deal with a sudden flood of memories. Probably should have posted this in the "Let It Out" forum, but meh. ----------- June 18, 2006- Nine days after my graduation. I was on summer vacation, and had flown down to Tijuana, Mexico the previous day to visit my mother, who was undergoing therapy for a malignant fibrosarcoma of the head and neck in a cancer clinic. I had had a late night the previous day running errands for my mom and tidying up her apartment. As such, I didn't wake up until around 11:30AM... I remember thinking it odd that my mother wasn't awake yet by that hour. She had always been an early riser - yet I figured that she might just have decided to take the day easy since the clinic was officially closed that day. Wanting to surprise her with a breakfast in bed, I went to the kitchen and began preparing a meal of pancakes, eggs, and a specialty Slovenian pastry...her favorite. Mentally, I noted the odd presence of a morphine bottle on the counter. Mom was usually very picky about such things; everything had to be in its rightful place, and morphine belonged in the medicine cabinet. Naturally, I didn't think much of it. Everybody forgets such trivialities sometimes, right? A few minutes later, breakfast was cooked. I arranged it on a tray and took it to her room. "Good morning, sunshine!" I called out to her, cheerily, opening the blinds. No response. She didn't even bother opening her eyes, or hiding beneath the covers to get away from the sun as she frequently did. Unfazed, I tried again. "Wake up, sleepyhead! It's noontime already!" Still no response. "Mami?" I tried shaking her awake. Nothing but a muffled gurgle. She was a notoriously light sleeper, and this was just so unlike her. Getting worried, I sat on her bed and checked for a pulse. I felt silly doing on this - nothing could possibly be wrong! She was just having a slow morning, that was it... And yet I had this sick feeling at the pit of my stomach... I took her hands in mine, and felt for a pulse. Cold hands. Faint pulse. My mind was racing. I was slipping into a panic. The image of the morphine bottle on the kitchen counter flashed in my head. She would never do it. She wouldn't. She wouldn't over dose. It might have been my imagination then, but her eyes seemed to flutter open then. I remember a pleading look. "Help me," her eyes seemed to say...and as soon as that expression registered, it vanished. I ran down stairs to the security guard - the only other person in the building besides me that day. In jumbled Spanish, I attempted to tell him what happened. "Mi mama..." I suddenly broke out into tears. It sent the message. He said he would call the doctor. I ran back up to my mom's apartment just in time to see her take her last breath. I just stood in the doorway and stared... So surreal. ... ... ... Time passed. ... ... ... The phone rang. It took a full four rings to register. Slowly, I walked over to it and cautiously picked up the headset. "Hallo?" came my grandmother's cheery voice. "Mami...nevem ch'e je sh'e zh'iva..." I stuttered clumsily. ("Mom...I don't know if she's still alive") Blackout. Suddenly, the head doctor of the clinic barged through the door. Not much left for him to do, anymore. He took my mom's body temperature and pulse, and pronounced her dead. Turning to me, he uttered the words, "Had you called me ninety minutes earlier, I would have been able to do something." That remark hit home. I remembered the previous night. After all those errands, I had decided to watch a late night TV show instead of heading directly to bed, despite my mother's suggestions. Looking back on it now, it's almost as if she was trying to warn me about a suicide attempted...almost like she was saying "Go sleep. I'll need you in the morning." At the time, however, I just couldn't control my emotions anymore. The initial shock had passed, and reality suddenly came crashing down on me. She was dead. I had just watched my mom die. I was alone, in a foreign country, scared, and I simply crumpled. Like a sheet of paper set on fire, I collapsed onto the floor and cried. The doctor just stared at me for a while. "My condolences," he said abruptly, and left. ----------------- Such was the story of my mother's demise. She was the only member of my family who loved me - who accepted me for what I was, who made an effort to understand me...I can't even begin recounting the pleasant memories of her I have. No words can express how much she meant to me. She was my role model; the epitome of perfection - kind, caring, empathic, honest,smart, intelligent, hardworking, a cancer scientist (ah! The irony!)...She was also the only supportive figure in my life, and she literally meant everything to me. She'd been battling a cancer relapse for over three years. And, in one day, I lost her. All that time, she'd been so strong, and had such a positive outlook on life. It had never crossed my mind that there was something brewing behind that outward appearance of unshakable positivity and confidence. Countless times I'd told her to tell me if she needed anything - conveyed to her that she could use me as a support if she ever felt down or in crisis. I was sure she would tell me anything. She knew I cared about her more than anything else on this earth. I taught myself how to mix and administer infusions and IVs because she didn't feel comfortable around paid nurses. I spent six hours a day giving her therapy when it could still be done at home. She HAD to know I cared. I suppose she was afraid to reveal her inner weakness - that, or she just thought that telling me her thoughts of self-destructivity would be burdensome. To this day, I admire her courage in fighting her battle. I can't help but take her suicide as a personal failure - I should have been there for her, I should have seen that inner turmoil...I should have done something about it! To this day, I shan't ever forget that picture of her lying on the clinic bed - eyes half closed, pale face, confused expression...wearing a yellow skirt and a huge white tshirt...dead.