Momma

Creator: David Sucsy | Credit: Getty Images

Their words hit me

like cement being poured.

“She’s taken a turn for the worse.

She’s been moved to the ICU.

We have put her in a medically induced coma.”

Sinking. Sinking.

The cement, quicksand.

My brother and I

sitting in chairs beside your hospital bed.

Little ducklings

sitting in a row. The only sound —

beeping. beeping.

A tube pushes air into your lungs

forcing you to breathe —

willing you to stay alive.

Our prayers and whispers,

a soothing chant.

“Stay alive, Momma. Please stay alive.”

My own broken heart,

“Momma I’m sorry for my last words

while you were still awake.

Words I said in anger.

I didn’t mean it.

The guilt is eating me from the inside.”

The cement begins to harden.

“I don’t know how to do life without you.

Please wake up, Momma. Please I need you.”

I read you a poem,

I sing you a song.

“Momma, can you hear me?

Momma, are you there?”

Across the screen —

Across space and time.

The numbers all turn to zero.

Flatlined. Alarms blaring.

“She’s gone,” the nurse gently whispers.

“Take as much time as you need.”

The tube, still forcing air into your body,

but the soul is no longer there.

“Please make it stop,” I wail. The breathing tube

making your lifeless body move —

an illusion of life

where there is only death.

I hold your hand

I kiss your forehead

the way you used to kiss mine

so many times

when you were still alive.

And time stands still.

I sit there

for a very long time.

Holding your hand,

I notice how the nail of your thumb

turns purple

while the rest of your nails turn

various shades of blue.

“Come back, Momma, please.

Please, Momma, I need you.”

Empty space. Hollow void. Shattered heart.

Primal wails escape my lips —

and I wonder who it is that is screaming.

Not recognizing my own voice.

The nurse says,

“Please quiet down. There are other patients…”

But my grief does not care.

My grief is not silent

nor are my apologies.

I can’t take back what I’ve said.

There will be no forgiveness.

There will be no making amends.

Ghosts have never haunted me

the way my last words to you have.

Six years, now.

Six years since you’ve been gone.

The tears of rain fell —

in an attempt to save my soul.

Redemption, white and pure as snow.

And yet, I can’t seem to let my grief or guilt go.

I’m forever haunted, still.

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Mary Rogers Glowczwskie

𝙷𝚎𝚛𝚋𝚊𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚝 | 𝚆𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚎𝚛 | 𝙼𝚢𝚜𝚝𝚒𝚌 | 𝚀𝚞𝚎𝚎𝚗