The last time you left

I want to write to you
About the last time you left
Really left
Not the first time
Which was many years before
When your mind went on holiday
To strange and scary places
And took the rest of us
With it
Never to return

The time when
You were left lying
In a darkened room
Nil by mouth
Slowly expiring
My own mother joking
About how she wanted you gone
When you dared take your time
To hold on to life
To control the if and the when
Of your final moment
13 days
Without water and food
I’m still proud of you
For resisting

The agony of waiting
For you to acquiesce
Then one night
3:30 am
The phone call
My brother
Saying how happy he was
For you
Now it was over
The delirium of grief
Causing his voice to smile

I cried hot heavy tears
Sitting cross-legged on the mattress
In the dark
Then went out
To the garden
With the possums and the bats
Bleeting and flapping
Awake and alive despite darkness
Despite death

Back inside
A cup of warm tea
Rocking gently in front of the gas heater
A brisk chill in the air
And when dawn finally came
I welcomed the new day
With an unusual sense of enthusiasm
For life

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