Tuesday, October 17, 2017

First and Last

Two years and a day ago I was coming home from work, switching from the Red Line to the Orange in the dark underground of Metro Center station, when my phone rang. It was Ellen. "Mom sounds a little stronger; I'll put her on."

For the past six days, Mom had been in the Annapolis hospital with Ellen, my doctor sister, keeping close watch. I'd been there for all or part of most days but had worked in the office all day that Friday and planned to spend the weekend in Annapolis.

"Hi," Mom said. "Hi, hi!" Her voice was girlish, almost giddy. 

"Hi," I said. "I'll see you tomorrow, Mom." 

And I would see her. But she wouldn't see me. By the time I got there early Saturday afternoon, she was slipping away. It was October 17, 2015. 

I no longer switch from the Red Line to the Orange Line, but the other night coming home from an event I found myself in the exact same spot where I last heard Mom's voice. 

"Hi, hi," I heard her say.  And I wonder now, have thought often since then, could those words — the last she ever said to me — have also been the first?

(Mom with her namesake, my oldest daughter Suzanne.) 
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