“Today is the day my mother is going to die.”
The keys of Harper’s Macbook clicked softly under long, tanned fingers. She looked at her journal entry but finding no other words, closed the laptop silently. She drained the last sip of coffee, slipped into her black leather jacket and grabbed the keys to her Mercedes from the glass table next to the door.
Jackie Becker hated growing old. Her resistance didn’t help; the heart attack she survived ten years earlier hadn’t been a victory but a precursor of battles yet to come. Jackie followed doctor’s orders to the letter taking medications by the truckload and refilling them relentlessly. It became a cycle of doctor visits, prescriptions and more tests. She would half heartedly joke, “I studied for weeks. I just don’t know how I failed a bone density test.”
She never got better. She only had days of not-so-much-pain.
“I don’t know why I’m sleeping so much” she gasped into the phone.
“Mom you’re not well. You need to sleep. It helps.” Harper said.
By the time she was admitted to the hospital, pneumonia was added to the long list of ills: congestive heart failure, three aneurisms, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, emphysema and a mass on her lung which could not be properly diagnosed because she was too sick to undergo a lung biopsy. Even on a 5’2” frame 99 pounds was skeletal.
Harper found it ironic, that while her mother’s health diminished, her vanity remained intact.
“I have the same size hips as I did in high school” she told Harper from her hospital bed.
“Yes Mom,” said Harper. “but you’re wearing a diaper in a hospital bed. Not the same somehow is it?”
Jackie gave her what her family called “the hairy eye” but said nothing.