a la Natalie Goldberg - I'm supposed to write for ten minutes starting with "I remember" or "I don't remember" - give it a go if you want...here goes...
I don't remember the sound of my mother's voice. I had a recording of her voice on my answering machine wishing me a happy birthday 1 month before she died. After she died, I played that recording over and over and over again. A real ghost in the machine. Her voice was muffled like she was living under water, and I suppose she was. She was so drugged up that she was drowning. I remember that she had called me by my sister's name the last time I called her from work, when I was living in Toronto. Was that the last time I spoke to her? I got angry with her for mistaking me for my sister and not recognising it was the only daughter who called her every couple of days to check in on her. I was too young and too self absorbed to understand that her failing mind was the last beacon of a failing body and that she would be gone soon. I remember that on my graduation night, just weeks before her death, I told a friend that I was afraid she was going to die. If only I had known that the doctor had given her only a few months to live (which turned out to be weeks) I might have moved from fear to grief and prepared for goodbye. I remember that she could not attend my graduation. I ordered a video and it arrived just days before her death, but she never got to see it. She was either too weak or too technically illiterate to work the video player. I don't remember which. She never got to see me graduate from University. But, that is just the first in a long list of things she never got to see me do.
I don't remember what my last words were to my mother. I hope it was "I love you" but I fear it was not. I know we both know that we loved each other, but final words are important. I was on a plane when she died. I was trying to get home in time to see her, but I didn't make it. I remember waking up suddenly and the words "I love you" came to me. I remember I checked my watch and later I found that it was the time she died. I think it was me saying I love you to my mother, but maybe she was also saying it to me. I'd like to think so.