The last words I’ll ever hear her speak are, “I’ve still got fight left in me.” Or maybe, “I don’t have no fight left in me.” I distinctly heard “fight left in me.”

I asked her how she was.  Dry: “I’m great.” Floated back into her morphine dreams or nightmares.

Later, when I was alone with her for a few moments, both of her hands in mine, I called her name. “Tywanua.” She opened her eyes. “Tywanua, I love you.” She was coherent enough to recognize me. “I love you, too.  I wish I could sit up a little more…but I’m just glad you’re here.”

 Atrocities of June 8, 2009

  • My aunt, who has terminal cancer, starts to rapidly decline as her body shuts down. There is concern she won’t make it through the night but the extra morphine improves her breathing and makes her more comfortable.
  • I see this otherworldly tumor on the side of her neck that makes me cringe and I’m glad my aunt is sleeping mostly. Not to be funny, but to give a visual: familiar with Coneheads on SNL? It’s like one of those heads is trying to grow out of the side of her neck. Ball your fists up, press them against the left side of your neck, and you can see how big that thing is. It’s like from a horror movie. Where the skin has been stretched to the limit and has cracked, she has bled. The whole top part has dark purple scabs and I’m sure some of that skin is black because it’s dead.
  • My family aren’t much of hand holders, but I know she likes to have her hand held so I try to model it for my family so that they can see the comfort it can give. Now, she’s hearing that she is loved and that’s all she (or any of us) has ever wanted.
  • My piece-of-the-most-unholiest-shit ex-uncle is a jealous, selfish coward. An obnoxious alcoholic, he keeps yelling at her, “you want something to eat, you want something eat?” I want to scream: She’s a little too busy with the business of breathing to eat. Besides, food will only prolong it now. Also, he apparently tries to have sex with her, while another aunt is in the same room, trying to sleep.
  • There’s too many people all around, wanting to desperately help her or those around her. The weariness of us all is heavy on the heart, and it’s the kind of heaviness that one can’t lose by going on a diet. It’s there for good.
  • I say goodbye to her and leave without a sob.
  • If not today,  June 9 or June 10, 2009 will be the day she dies. Maybe planning a death really is like planning a marriage. You concern yourself with the flowers and the weather.
  • Past and present tenses. She will die, but after that?  Will I say I had an aunt who died?  That tends to be the traditional form of reference. Or I have an aunt who died? Because is she still my aunt once she’s dead?  Will I ever be able to say I  lost an aunt or will it always be I am losing an aunt? I can’t go find her at the lost and found; she’s not a lost item or a lost person. Losing is active and implies infinity.
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