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Thursday, July 21, 2005 4:30 PM

“I’ve been reading a lot.”

“What books?”

“One called Conversations with God.”

“What is that about?”

“Right now, it is about how we invite things we fear or love into our lives. What do you fear?”

“Snakes and scorpions. How ’bout you?”

“Mom, I fear you dying.”

She sighs. Then, she smiles.

“Veronica, it’s natural for parents to go before their children. And, I feel like I have taught you right. I see you. And, you are the woman I hoped you be.”

I continue to stare down at my crab rangoon nodding and trying not to cry. She has never said anything like this to me. And, suddenly I see myself as she sees me, and I am changed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 4:30 AM

“Wake up! Wake up! It’s awful. Your mother died! The police just called me. I am so sorry, Veronica,” my neighbor says in one breath as she bursts through the front door of my mother’s triple wide.

I listen to the story of how my mother stood to say something to her lover, coughed, fell unconscious, and died of a sudden pulmonary embolism.

A strange feeling of warmth encompasses me. It soothes me into a deep, dreamless sleep.

And, I awake to live and thrive on the power of my mother’s confident, final gaze.