I watched the snow fall from the hospital window. I sat in a chair overlooking the city beside my mother, who had come in to get some tests done.
She was being tested for cancer. It runs in the family. My grandmother died from cancer, my aunt died from cancer, my cousin died from cancer.
It seems death runs in our family, like a winding ribbon or a vein, tying it all together.
My heart felt heavy as I thought of how things should be.
Sometimes, in my head, I live in this parallel universe. One where my baby didn't die and my love didn't die and my mother isn't being scanned for cancer and where I'm not sitting in a hospital in December, days before Christmas, thinking the one thing that links our family is death.
I drink my tea and watch the thick snowflakes and the dim glow coming from the bright lights and I hear her voice.
I look around. She's not here. I know she's not here. She's dead.
"Everything will be ok, mama."
They are the only words I hear from her, sweet daughter of mine.
Sometimes, in the midst of a snowstorm or late at night, she whispers to me. I can feel her hands on my face, her breath on my neck.
It's only for a moment, only a brief second in this parallel universe where my daughter still exists, where she is learning to whisper my name, when her father is just in the other room instead of buried under the frosty ground.
But a minute is enough, enough to keep me pushing forward.
"I hear you baby," I whisper into my tea, "I love you."