Why I want to be like my mother.

It was 10:06 pm in California
1:06 am in Vermont
When my father took his last breath

At around 1:25 I got a phone call
I knew it could only mean one thing
Especially when it was my mother
Sounding shaken
Refusing to tell me another word 
Until I gave myself a stress dose
Of dexamethasone

Remember: 
She had known my father
Since she was 15
She was now just barely 68
They’d been married for 50 years
Engaged for most of the other 3
They were best friends
And soulmates 
And had weathered
Some of the worst storms
A marriage with children can offer
And come out stronger for it

Knowing all that —
What does it say to you thatl
Less than half an hour 
After my father passed, 
She said:

“I know this kind of precision 
Means a lot to you
So I’m letting you know
Your father took his last breath
At exactly 10:06 pm.”

Her soulmate had just died
After months of her being his primary caregiver
At great risk to her own life and health
And she was thinking about
Whether I cared about precision or not

She’s the sort of person
Who always thinks about others
In ways I can only try and fail to emulate
I see her do it every time she interacts
And I don’t know how she does it

If I could wish for anything from my parents
It would be my father’s practical skills
His ability to do things with his hands
And it would be my mother’s social skills
Her ability to not only care, but show she cares
Even minutes after losing the love of her life

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