The day began like any other morning. I arrived at the crack of dawn with coffee in hand. I'm not particularly a morning person, but I knew I needed to be by her side.
Four weeks camped out in I.C.U., I kept hoping and praying for a miracle. She couldn't speak, but on good days, she followed me with her eyes... those big brown expressive eyes.
Most days we settled into a routine. I began by reading current affairs from the local newspaper aloud, pretending everything was normal. Her nurses chastised me, saying she couldn't hear me. I responded with a stern look of disapproval.
When I turned on the TV to her favorite soap opera, I watched her come alive. She loved Erica Kane of All My Children. Secretly, I always imagined her as a glamorous movie star. She was beautiful inside and out.
Next... came hair and make-up. She loved to get dolled up. I was never good at it, but I did my best. Thank goodness she didn't have a mirror to check my work. Although, I'm certain if she had, she would've given me a warm and gracious smile and a genuine thank-you.
I painted her nails pink. She loved the color pink. As I held her hands, I thought to myself, she's so soft, yet so strong and courageous.
I told her I loved her. I had no idea it would be my last opportunity to whisper those words in her ear. She died in my arms that day, surrounded by love.
Twenty years later, I'm forever reminded of the precious gift she gave me. It's never too late to love. Thank you Mom... for being an awesome teacher!