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Last Words of a Wordsmith

Words, spoken truthfully, carry weight.  Words, set in writing,  go the distance,  geographically and chronologically, with repeated visual visits until they are embedded in deep corners of memory.

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Ah. Words. Carriers of essence– more than sound, more than print. Within their utterance they become a change. Within their syllables they spin history. Within the space between the thought and the speech, they brew a future.

Words carry weight indeed, and oh how heavy some words may be.

“If you leave now, you will break my heart.”

Those were your last words. Or at least, those are the last words I remember from you while you were still ‘you‘. While you were still the strong, sharp, eloquent woman I had known and loved, before the seizure snapped the connection between you and your most precious words.

If I had known those would be your last words, that it would be the last time I would see ‘you‘, I wonder if I would have been able to say something more meaningful.

But at that instance you had been confined in the hospital for the nth time and we had been fighting for days. I must have been turning away, must have looked like I would storm out, because just then for the first time in what seemed like months, you reached out to me like nothing had changed; like your arms were still a safe haven for me. Of course I could only crawl into them and cry, always having been weak against being held.

If I had known I wouldn’t be held by you again, I would have stayed longer.

But all I could think was 1) ‘Thank god no one else is here,’ because I could never quite be completely honest when guests and nurses were around, and 2) that your words were ironic.

Because you were the one leaving me.
And it was breaking my heart.

-oOo-

She always believed so strongly in the power of words– both of us did. The apple not falling far from the tree, I also possessed a way with the written word. But no two wordsmiths are identical, our words colored by different experiences and emotions.

Have you noticed it yet? Do you, dear reader, feel that the words now are of a different shade?

The hand that writes does not belong to Wordsmith Luwee, but to her twenty-two year old daughter. And it is with a deep, vast grief that I inform you my mother’s hand will never write a single word more.

Last December 5 of the year 2016, a day within being brought home from the hospital, my mother’s two-year combat against cancer concluded. It started in her right breast, then flitted to her leg, then her spine, then her brain . Towards the end, a seizure crippled her speech capabilities and as her words, once so precise, turned into garble, the rot in her bones became unbearable. It seems we had arrived at the limit. The cancer had spread everywhere and the alternative of being hooked up to a bunch of blinking machines, with so many tubes and needles that her veins had collapsed–

That wasn’t living. I do not think it was out of my selfishness that I signed the agreement To Not Resuscitate. To ease the pain, we  put her on Morphine.

Later, the nurse told me the life expectancy of a  patient on Morphine is one week.

When she passed away, it was peaceful. She was prayed over by her sister, in the room her mother died in. Walls the color of pale green, although two brave women had passed in that room, it does not house painful memories. Even the cat likes to sleep there on lazy afternoons.

I did not pray. Much of it to do with the fact that I did not really know how. I didn’t know the words to the prayer and after so many ‘I’m fine’s, I had become weary of uttering empty words. So I just held her hand. And I did not cry because there were too many people in the room. I held her hand and I told her, “You were spectacular.”

Her brother arrived less than five minutes after she died and if I could name one concrete regret, it was that I didn’t call him sooner. I couldn’t help but feel that I had deprived them both of something- her of the presence of someone who seemed to have loved her better than me, who could pray for her and ease her soul into Heaven. Him, of the chance to be there with his youngest sister, to whisper comforting words to her one last time.

I am a wordsmith but I am not my mother.

My mother was strong and brave and she spoke so that she may lift up others. She was kind. And generous. And always the first to reach out to me. Her temper was fiery but quick to forgive. I respected her the most. Her words delivered a warmth that nestled in the hearts of people. So many came to her wake to pay thanks and respects, and many cried on my shoulder (Perhaps because ironically, I always smile during funerals and am only on that day generally lacking of the somber aspect which possesses my person on any other day). She was like the sun.

She was and is still the most important person in my life.

I am a wordsmith but I am not my mother.

And yet I know that I am going to live the rest of my life striving for that flame she had, protecting it before  it flickers out. Words–! Her wonderful words, her beautiful words that she loved so much. If my mother was a fire, then I who am cold wish to be the cool steel of the lantern that cradles her sentiments.

Though she is gone, I and all those who had ever been touched by her words will carry her warmth in our hearts like candles in the night.

-oOo-

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“If you leave now, you will break my heart.”

I remember those words clearly but I cannot remember what I had responded.

Some mornings I wake up next to grief in my bed, its arm wrapped softly around my side. I lay awake trying to recall, and I think that perhaps my response had been “I’m sorry.”

On other mornings I slowly turn in my bed to face grief. We smile at each other.

I know now. My response must have been: “I love you. I love you so much.”

And I will always love you.

– Wordsmith Sara

2 comments on “Last Words of a Wordsmith

  1. Sara, as I read through your words, the first thought that entered my mind is you are your mother’s daughter. Your writing style is not quite like hers, yet your choice of words are powerful like hers. Wordsmiths Luwee and Sara’s way with words are both insightful, thoughtful, mindful. It would be wonderful for you to pick up where she left off.

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