It took me years to move away from the force that was my mother, and just a few minutes to realize that I hadn't snapped the fierce bond that has held me to her. I'd only stretched it, but not to the breaking point.
Part of me now is still standing beside her bed, reading to her, watching for her smile.
When my sister and I went into her apartment, we were surrounded by shelves and piles and stacks of books. Without her, they all seemed like dead paper. The rooms that had been her home echoed with her absence.
When she is completely gone, the world I know will be an empty house for a while. The places she loved, the things that made her laugh, all of the memories that I have will help to fill a space without her. And I hope that she leaves me a tiny bit of the courage that allows her eyes to shine still, even as the rest of her dwindles.