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Dear mum

by Luisa Gillies 2 months ago in Family
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A secret in a letter while she dies

Dear mum
Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Dear mum,

I’m sitting by your bedside. I was holding your hand, but it’s so wrinkled and cold and papery that—well, it’s so cold that it’s draining the heat out of mine, mum—you’re so cold that I feel like you’re draining the life out of me. That’s horrible, so horrible—what a horrible thing to say.

But you’re dying, mum. You’re practically already dead, mum. You’ll never read this.

You never think that time will actually run out. I mean, I knew it would, but I didn’t actually expect it to, somehow. I told myself that I would tell you when I was ready, but now you’ve gone and hurt yourself so badly that the doctor is saying you’re just slipping away. Slipping away, she said, slowly but surely.

So she can’t speak, I said, and she can’t hear me? And she never will?

That’s right, sir.

So she’s dead, then, is what you’re telling me?

No, sir, she said. No, she’s still breathing. She’s not dead.

So there you have it. You’re not dead, but you’re not alive either, so time has officially run out either way. So I’ll tell you my secret in this letter, mum. You did always tell me to write my thoughts down.

I am completely, entirely, violently in love with him, mum, and I always have been, and that is who I am. I tried whispering it into your ear—I am completely, entirely, and violently in love with him, mum, mother, my mother. And that is who I am. But you didn’t hear me, and even though you’ll never read this either, well—I don’t know, mum. It seems more official. An official document for you.

So what can I say? I know what you’d say. I’ll read it from Heaven, my dear. I’m sure they’ll have a little chair that I can sit on, and I’ll just pop my reading glasses on and peer down into your house and read whatever little thing you want to tell me, son. So just lay it on the table, dear—lay it flat so I can see it. And then we’ll talk about it when you join me, someday.

And I know what I’d say. I’d say, mum, you know I don’t believe in God. No, not even Heaven. No! Not any kind of afterlife. We die and it’s like we never existed, and I don’t have to worry about how that feels because I won’t be around to feel it, will I?

And mum, I’d say, mum—how could I join you? That’s when I’d say it—I am completely, entirely, and violently in love with him. It wasn’t a choice—but if it was, mum—if it was a choice—that’s what I’d choose, over and over and over again, to get to be completely, entirely, and violently in love with the most gentle soul that ever lived.

And you never guessed what he was to me, but you knew what he was, and you told me that his choice would make him burn in Hell. But if it was a choice, mother, and if you were right about God—I’d still choose it. I’d burn in Hell with him if that meant I could continue loving him. I am completely, entirely, and violently in love with him.

So there you go, mother. You’re dying, and there really doesn’t seem to be a way in which we will ever meet again. So I’ve written you this letter, and I’ll leave it facing upwards on my bedroom desk just in case—just in case you were right all along about God.

And now I’ll hold your hand again. I'll hold your brittle little hand until the doctor agrees that you have died.

With unconditional love, mum.

With love from your son.

Family

About the author

Luisa Gillies

Hi! I'm Luisa.

I write short stories and poetry.

I'm really keen to hear feedback on my work, so please feel free to share your thoughts!

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