Aunt Debbie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 29, 2009
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Three years ago, on a chilly Sunday, my dad woke me very early, saying, “Joe, it’s time to go.” I grabbed clothes at random and put on a hat. My father, my sisters, and I left the house and as we drove, no one really spoke.

We arrived at the hospice care center and walked in. In a dimly lit room we found my mother next to the bed where Aunt Debbie lay panting and wheezing. My mother sat quietly and wiped saliva from my aunt’s lips. A small stereo played The Beatles. My aunt had been fighting cancer for several months and losing the battle. This morning the nurses said today was the day to say good-bye.

Aunt Debbie smoked like a chimney, and the doctor found spreading tumors. My mother visited every day, and I went when I had the strength to see her. She became emaciated, and her hair fell out. Her skin yellowed. My aunt was like a second mother to my sisters and me. We often hid or threw out her cigarettes, but she kept on smoking just the same.

On that cold Sunday, we gathered around her bed and spoke to her. We told her how much we loved her. To this day I wonder if she heard us. My mom looked into her eyes and said it was okay for her to leave and escape the pain. My aunt’s gasping, rattling breath slowed and eventually stopped.

There was no speech or dramatic Hollywood moment. She just seemed to be taken by the breeze. We played several Beatles songs and cried. I walked the calm hospice grounds and didn’t know how to feel. I was not sure if I was sad or angry, or even relieved.

Three years to the day, I still feel as though I was robbed. I’m glad her pain is gone, but I still feel like I was denied something I should have had for a very long time.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

MarieAntoinette2012 said...
Oct. 30, 2012 at 11:26 am
I understand completely. This happened with my Great grandma. I'm very sorry for your lose, and equally glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels like this.
beautifulspirit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm
Your article was direct and poignant. Many readers will be able to relate to this piece.
Macx14 said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm
Very moving and beautiful, but very easy to understand and relate to. Good work!
AineAlyssa said...
Jul. 17, 2010 at 3:05 am
I honestly Truley Enjoyed this article it was very touching and i teared up at places :) Well Written
Fires said...
May 12, 2010 at 11:41 am
Good one! Do you have an answer on how you feel.
kkila said...
Nov. 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm
Touching story. I have lost a loved one too, but not to cancer i cant imagine the pain
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