Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

What Falls and Somehow Returns


Two years ago, today, my sister Karen and I watched. And waited. And watched. Together.

A handful of fallen leaves, brought indoors, bedside, turning color-crisp-brown. A tiny pumpkin, struggling to bring cheer, bedside too. It outlived its time, I like to think for her, making it just shy of Halloween 2014.

We watched.

Our mom, now looking so tiny. Half herself. Her breasts disappeared. Her nose transformed into a beak-like point, perhaps necessary for her imminent flight. My dad’s nose had done the same, less than four months earlier.

A sorrow held her brow. Her sudden will to go, though not wanting it to be this soon. Yet a will nonetheless, having self-determined, once the crossroads became sharp, not to forever lie in a bed.

She slept.

We waited. And watched. Together. Closed eyes that never reopened.

This last full day of my mom’s breathing and, I like to think, dreaming on this contingent, autumnal earth.

*   *   *

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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, by my mom’s side, East Lansing, Michigan, October 2013; this piece was inspired by a message from Karen.)


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This entry was posted on October 2, 2015 by in Dispatches from Life.
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