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.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
7 months ago

Such a sad tale, Jess, and really written from the heart. As a retired nurse, often looking after patients at the end of life, your words really resonated, especially your last sentence of your next to last paragraph. Sad, but beautiful.

Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
7 months ago

Moving story. A long life seems a long time, almost a century, but cosmically a blink.

Genya Johnson
Genya Johnson (@genya-johnson)
7 months ago

Such a sad story full of emotion and feelings. We all need people in our lives but more so as the end draws near. Beautifully written.

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
7 months ago

This was so beautifully written. Such a sad story. I liked the line “She thought about the dance of the 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.”

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
7 months ago

A beautiful write Jess, expressing the emotion of love through caring. Tenderly expressed.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
7 months ago

This is a beautiful story.

I lost my dad in October; this story is perfectly written. Sometimes long isn’t long enough!

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
7 months ago

A very touching story of loving and caring of a daughter to her mother. All children want our parents to be healthy always, but we cannot stop the fact that their end is near. Very heartbreaking.

Sandra James
Sandra James (@sandra-james)
7 months ago

Beautiful, Jess! My mum has Alzheimer’s and it’s those little things that mean so much. A smile, a few words etc. Ada’s mum is mentally aware and her understanding through squeezing Ada’s hand will help Ada through the tough times ahead. Well done!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
6 months ago

I love the contrast between Ada’s longing for something otherworldly, far away in the distant stars, and the necessity for dealing physically with the down-to-earth stuff with her mom. It corresponds perfectly with the contrast you so well describe between a long, human life being only a blink in galactic sense. Well written!

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
6 months ago

Reassuring!

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