I was dying. I was emaciated and frail. I had withered to skin and bones and I was in bed, dozing in and out. I was afraid. Afraid that each doze would be my last and that I’d never see my family again. My family was there, all of them, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother and sister-in-law. The aunt and uncle that already died were not. Granny was there. Healthy as ever, she was there out-living me.
I was in her house, in her bed. The headboard was against a different wall, but I was in her bed in my pink and white Asian motif pajamas. I was more certain than I’d ever been of anything in my life. I was going to die. My death was imminent. Everyone around me knew it too, and though people were sad, they were busy doing what my family would have been doing at a gathering at Granny’s–talking, watching TV, a few were outside and we were waiting for the stragglers. This time they were my brother and his wife.
I must have been in this state for quite some time. I was lucid, but very weak. Somehow, today I had a burst of energy. I wanted to get up. I felt like eating. I ate and planned to go back to sleep. Instead of sleeping I felt myself getting stronger. I got up out of the bed and walked around and talked to people. I remember talking briefly to my mom and dad who were sad, but not nearly as destroyed as I would have expected them to be watching their baby girl slip away from them. I was comforted by that.
My brother and his wife arrived and I told them that we needed to talk. They were trying to get money together for some big project. I told them to sell something of mine and that I wanted them to have the money and to use it towards their project. It was a huge sum of money. They assured me that they would use the money the way I would want them to. I felt so much love as my brother brushed my hair back from my face. He had so much sadness in his eyes. I love him so much.
As I regained strength I decided that I wanted to help make dinner. I went to the kitchen and I started making rolls from scratch. I moved very slowly, but everyone was patient. I’m sure they had to be the worst rolls ever, but I made them. I wanted to make them for my family one last time. I imagine that we all ate dinner, but then scene skips to us gathering around my bed.
I was feeling much better at this point, a little life had returned to my face and body. Everyone gathered around me for a family photo.
I felt overwhelming sadness. I loved these people so much and the thought of leaving them was tearing me apart. It tears me apart now. I’m sobbing as I type this. I thought about all the fights, all the tension, unfairness and mistreatment. I thought about all that has gone unsaid. It made me very sad to know that I was leaving with what I felt was so little resolution. I begged them to be good to each other.
I woke up. I couldn’t bear to stay sleep another minute. I was certain that if I did I would know what it feels like to die in your sleep. I’m not ready to know that.