April 16th, 2018, was a Monday. My notes say, “Last good day with Mom. Camryn there. We bee-bopped to music. Mom laughing.” She’d been strapped down as to not bend her leg and jostle the balloon pump going in through her groin, and she became increasingly uncomfortable throughout the weekend. More medicine bags were added to her IV tower. Doctors swarmed her bed early and concurred the pump hadn’t done as much as they’d hoped so she’d have to stay longer. I went to work—worried, but hopeful.

Leaving work, I went straight to her bed in the ICU, and Juan Luis met me there with Camryn. Coral was working a new job and didn’t feel she could ask for much time off, so my memories of what days she was able to join us are murky. Hindsight’s twenty twenty and all that. I mean, one of your people is in the ICU with a machine pumping for their heart, we all should’ve taken the week off. We were just limping day to day, expecting a return to normal soon.

This would be the last time Camryn saw her, not wanting to visit Grandma in such a state again. Neither of my kids do well with hospitals. I believe all the energy of humans coming and going makes sensitive people uncomfortable. I went home and to bed—not quite normal, but not worried either—never considering for a moment she’d die from this. Maybe it was taking longer than originally thought, but we have one of the country’s top heart facilities. We caught the damn thing. We’d fix the damn thing. I should’ve said I love you ceaselessly, while she could still say it back.

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