There is nothing more unsettling than watching my mother fall apart, realizing my own ineptness at comforting her. Every night, I hold her sobbing body in my dead aunt’s bed, while we take turns telling stories, desperately hanging onto the memories I already feel slipping away. I only pull up my aunt’s voice in my head during my darkest hours, fearing that it will begin to fade away if I listen to it too many times.
Her house is frozen in time; her purse still lays sprawled open in the hallway; all of her belongings patiently awaiting her return. They do not know that she lays dead in the morgue. Alone. Waiting for someone to tell her family how a healthy 50-year old dies spontaneously.
The nights are the hardest. I hide in the washroom where my mother’s grief cannot see me. Cannot hear me. I run the water to muffle the noise as I scream and wail into a towel. I let the hot water burn my skin until it is as angry and tender as I feel inside.