In San Antonio

For Nancy Elizabeth Marquardt (Dec. 18, 1958 – May 9, 2010)

Dad sat the three of us down,
dark chocolate eyes had lost their hope,
a deep breath before,
“This time, your mom isn’t going to make it.”

Holding my breath to stop the tears,
brother looks down, sister screams and runs
Dad sighs, “I wish she hadn’t done that.”
No tear-filled eyes from him.

For fourteen days we slowly watched
as mom had moments of lucidity.
Long time friends and family
came by every day to see her
before time was up.

She didn’t have months
she had weeks, which turned into days.
Precious little time
then turned into hours.

Mom had seen me before I left
in the red carpet black dress.
I wondered if she could see me now
after the Senior Ball.

We picked out that dress four months ago
Classic sweetheart neckline with a dropped waist.
She was proud,
with her soft smile and sparkling eyes.

It was time for the date to leave,
I could see it in my father’s eyes.
Things had gotten worse,
this time they wouldn’t be okay.

Muted yellow light penetrated
the darkness that filled the house.
Sobs were held back as tears flowed,
“Close your eyes, Nancy. Just go to sleep.”

She fought to breathe,
fought harder to stay awake.
A battle she wasn’t going to win,
fighter till the end.

My dad tried not to cry,
he wanted to be strong.
But nothing could stop the tears from falling,
as my mom struggled to breathe.

He was at her side, like he’d always been
since their marriage in the summer of ’91.
Nineteen years of marriage had been filled
with twelve years battling breast cancer.

The one thing that can’t be unseen,
the image of a my father’s tears
streaming down his face.

The strongest man I know
with tear stained cheeks and red eyes.
Couldn’t keep his feelings locked away
like every boy is taught.

I watched from my spot on the floor,
my aunt and dad letting silent tears fall.
Comforting my mom as time ticked by,
watching a loved one slowly fade away.

Ticking from the clock pierced the silence,
as mom’s breathing stopped.
It was 12:45 a.m. on Mother’s Day,
my dad lost his wife.

My aunts lost a sister,
my grandparents lost a daughter,
students lost their teacher,
my siblings and I lost our mom.

The pink ribbon on my right shoulder
is there for her memory.
To remind me to have hope,
to remind me to fight.

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