When I Look at You

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Chapter Twenty Seven

That night, I packed a bag and sort of moved into the hospice center with my mom. The nurses provided me with a cot in her room and told me I could stay as long as necessary. The next couple of days were filled with crying and throwing up when my mother wasn’t awake. When she was, I put on a fake smile and made it seem like nothing was wrong. I thought I was doing well until I hit the three day mark. We were sitting in her room watching television when she suddenly turned it off. I looked at her in question as she crossed her arms. She was a lot thinner now and her face had sunken in quite a bit. She was like a shell of the person she use to be.

“What happened, Ker? I let this go on long enough. What’s the matter?” She asked, adjusting the IV in her arm. They had started her on morphine the same day I moved in here. It was the next step in the “Comfort Care” they provide here so she wouldn’t feel any pain.

“Nothing. Can we finish the movie please?”

“Bullshit. You come here with some poor excuse story that you fell and broke your wrist and how you are pulling a twenty four hour vigil at my bedside. I didn’t want you to throw your life away watching me die, Kerri. That’s why I told you to stay home. Did something happen with Hannah again?” Sighing, I looked at her.

“I got into a fight with one of Hannah’s friends. She told me the truth about something. That’s all. Nothing for you to worry about, Mom.”

“Like that’s gonna happen.” She said, fixing my bangs. Her fingers were cold to the touch. “I know you better than that, honey. How’s Blaine doing? He hasn’t been here since you came.” I shrugged.

“I don’t know. I broke up with him.” Her eyes widened in shock. I felt the tears coming again but I held them in.

“Oh Kerri.”

“I found out that Dad had paid Blaine to hang out with me before I came down here. The worst part is that he didn’t even try to deny it, Mom.” A single tear slid down my cheek. “I’m so scared. I came down here thinking that I was only going to have to survive a couple months of hell. Now my entire life is up in the air and I’m just grasping at the bits and pieces to put it back together.” I wiped my tears away and smiled. “But it’s okay. You’re all the matters now. How are you feeling?”

“Listen to me. Just because I am laying in this bed doesn’t mean that you need to stop being human. Being human means dealing with life as it comes your way. You’re allowed to cry and laugh and smile. When I’m gone, your life shouldn’t stop. You need to promise me something right now.” Reaching over, she grabbed my hand in both her’s. “Promise me that you are going to grab life by the horns and live it to the absolute fullest. If you get a chance to do something new, take it. Laugh at the small things and don’t be afraid to cry if you need to. And by all means, do not waste a chance at true love like I did with your father.”

“Mom-” She held up her hand to stop me.

“You need to hear this. There wasn’t a day that I didn’t miss your father. When we agreed to have him leave, it was the hardest decision I had ever made. It was like I had chopped a part of my body off and that wound never really had a chance to heal. Every time we saw each other, it took everything in me to not ask him to come back. But I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t because I knew that he wasn’t ready then you weren’t ready yet. When I found out I was sick, your father was my first call. He flew up to Maine that same day. He’s always been the most caring and sweetest man I’ve ever met. I asked him what we were going to do with you if I became terminal. He suggested telling you and seeing what you wanted to happen. I knew I couldn’t tell you yet that because I wasn’t ready for that. I couldn’t bare telling you and seeing that look on your face. I couldn’t be the one who broke your heart into a million pieces. That’s why I came up with the idea of you coming here for the summer. I thought you would fall in love with this place and would make some friends. Then I would come down here and persuade you into staying here if need be.” She began to cry, her breathing becoming labored because of it.

“Shhhh.” I whispered, getting up from my chair to sit on her bed.

“It’s not fair, Ker. I want more time with you. I want to be here when you graduate and when you get into college. I wanted to see you walk down the aisle. Have your babies. I wish I could go back and change so much in my life. I would tell your father just how much I love him.”

“He knows, Mom. He know.” She smiled at me.

“I pray every day that he does. That’s why you need to dig deep down in your heart and soul to find some forgiveness, baby. I know the world has hurt you but at the end of the day, you gotta learn to look passed that. Blaine might have done a bad thing but he did what he thought was best for you. We don’t come into this world knowing all the answers. We have to learn them along the way and hope they stick. The same goes with your daddy. He’s a great man who has made some mistakes. But if you don’t learn to forgive those mistakes, you’re the one who will end up losing in the end. Promise, Kerri. Promise me you are going to help yourself heal. And you can’t do that alone.”

“I promise, Mom.”

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