This is a regular column featuring original fiction by and for high school students, provided by Figment.com, an online community writing site for young people.
Last winter, after more than three decades of silence I desperately wanted to see my mother before it was too late. Since I left, the only communications we’ve had with each other were the letters I sent to her apologizing for everything wrong I have done in the past. Her responses were nothing more than her correcting my grammar. I can’t help but feel that her condition was my fault.
My teenage years were the scariest years of her life, and I feel that she can’t forgive me for all of the stress I’ve caused her. All of the wrong decisions I’ve made, the people I hung out with…I only thought about myself. All of the nights she would cry herself to sleep were because of me. She was doing all that she could to keep me away from the drugs and alcohol, but me getting pregnant at 17 was the last straw. After I delivered the baby, I left. I didn’t want do cause her any more pain than I already caused.
It kills me when I think back to my teenage years about everything that happened. Looking back, every time me and my mom talked, her eyes looked so worried and I just kept making the worst decisions of my life. I haven’t seen her since I was 18 years old. I’m older now, and she’s dying from terminal cancer in a hospital 1300 miles away. She has barely any time left and I can’t help but think it’s entirely my fault. If I was never in her life, she wouldn’t be in this mess right now.
I got a letter from the hospital, that she only had days left and they wanted to know if I would like to see her. The next day my daughter Chloe and I were on a plane going back to my hometown, in Ohio. She sold the house I grew up in, so Chloe and I just went straight to the hospital. I couldn’t go in at first, but after sitting in the waiting room for about an hour, I knew that I had to see her, and that I was wasting valuable time. I walked into the room by myself and had Chloe stay in the hallway. I saw her lying on a hospital bed, her hair as white as snow, and her skin looking like snow also. I have never seen her in this bad of a condition before, and all I could do was just cry.
I cried for most of the time I was with her, and she cried too. I apologized over and over, but she kept saying, "It's all right my dear. You don't have to apologize. It's not your fault." She said she loved me no matter what I did, and that she always listened to me, and forgave me even when I didn’t apologize.
When Chloe came into the room, my mother was so happy that she cried even harder. She said that she’s waited all her life to have the three of us together. We spent the whole day together, and then Chloe left to go back to the hotel. I stayed with my mother until she drew her last breath that night.
Her last words were: "I love you so much, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my last day on this earth. Thank You."
Then, before I got to say anything, the monitor beeped for a time that seemed as if it lasted forever. I couldn't have asked for a better mom. I love her so much, and I always will. Our relationship was summed up to be nothing more than unconditional love.