Ada sat under the stars, writing by moonlight, finding inspiration where she always did.
A loud voice interrupted her furious, searching thoughts, “Ada! I gotta go, please come inside?”
She sighed and glanced at the stars one more time, hoping the ancient light would bring comfort until next time.
She walked into the house as the hospice nurse gathered her things. “Sorry sweetie I have to go pick up my kids. Your mom’s bags need changing and she really needs to eat something tonight if she’s up to it. See you tomorrow.” Vera patted her shoulder as she left.
Ada slipped quietly into her mom’s room. The smell of chemicals and bodily fluids fully bringing her mind back from the stars.
She tried to put some strength into her voice, “How are you feeling Momma?”
“I’m tired sweetheart. Can you help me?”
“Yeah, let’s get you fixed up and then you need to eat before you sleep. We have to get some calories in you.”
“Eh, I’m too tired and I’ve been so nauseated all day. Maybe in the morning.”
As she spoke Ada began carefully removing the full ostomy bags and wiping around the stoma before putting clean bags on, making sure to line them up perfectly so they wouldn’t irritate the skin. By the time she was done her mom’s eyes were closed and she snored lightly.
Ada sat down next to her hospital bed, stroking her mom’s hand as she thought about the days to come. She closed her eyes and imagined the trajectory of her mom’s life, how it had led to this moment. She thought about the dance of binary stars in a far away galaxy and the smallness of human lives, how dense and compact a life could be, filled with so much in what amounted to a blip on the cosmic scale.
A noise brought her back to the bedside as her mom sighed and squeezed Ada’s hand, quickly falling back to sleep. Ada smiled and squeezed it back, then picked up her notebook and began to write.