‘All Is Forgiven Between Us’
After a lifetime of discord, my mother’s battle with ALS brought us closer together than ever, but waiting for her to die nearly drove me to a nervous breakdown.
Photos courtesy Joanna Chen
I’m sitting on a wooden bench below an apartment block, chatting with my mother on my cell phone. We’re laughing about something when suddenly it hits me. “How come I’m talking to you?” I ask. “Aren’t you dead?” There’s a click and the call disconnects. Sometimes dreams articulate what we cannot.
I grew up in northern England in a house that bordered a copse. When we were little, my brother, Andrew, and I would play there after school. We spent hours in that copse, safely hidden among the trees, running through bracken that crackled under our feet. Returning home, I would see my mother standing at the kitchen window, making dinner and watching out for us as the sky darkened.