In retrospect, the hospital was a rather sterile place. The more I think about it, the less inviting it becomes.

We went up the elevator. My mother held a bag full of Reese’s Cups—the big ones, individually wrapped, like for Halloween. The doors opened and we walked out, down a hallway until we got to the room in question.

There was a frail, dehydrated, dying shell of a woman on the bed. Just months before, she had been the very picture of health, a very vibrant lady. Now she couldn’t go five minutes without passing out.

The doctors, too late, said it was ovarian cancer.

“Hi, Auntie!”

She opened her eyes and tried to speak. She couldn’t. She grunted once.

“Auntie, guess what we got for you! Reese’s cups!”

She grunted again.

My dad said something, but she had fallen back asleep. We left, saying that we should leave her to peace, knowing that it really was so we wouldn’t have to bear the pain of seeing her decay and burn out.

That was the last time I saw her alive.

She died the next week.

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