She’s Still Alive

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My mother used to embarrass my brother and I when we were kids—just by being loud, or provocative, or just being herself. When she passed away, my brother was really broken up about it—we were sitting on the couch, in our house in Florida. We were on the back patio, which was really beautiful—enclosed with french doors—that looked out onto the ficus tree and lake: (which had alligators, but my mother swam it in anyway, and we all did). The hospice people came to take her away, they were moving her into that stretcher/bed (that sorta folds up and goes into a car, or van); she sprang up like a jackknife—her body bent in half at the waist. We all froze. I had no idea; this was the first time I’d ever seen a dead body, so I looked to the hospice people, one of them said “oh, no.” And I was thinking okay, I guess this is bad. I’m not sure how much worse it could actually get. And then my brother says “Wait, she’s still alive!” And I looked at the hospice people and they were looking at my mom. And I looked at my mom. And we all kinda waited for my mom to do something, and nothing happened. Then my brother whispered in my ear that we should take off her earrings because they were expensive.

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