We have developed a routine and so each night, I cover her with a blanket. We have named each blanket at this point and we start with Pinky. Pinky is a pink jersey blanket her sister Jessica bought her years ago. It has a BGSU logo on it, Jessica’s alma mater. If she is cold I also cover her with Big Blue, a heavy blue blanket I crocheted her at Christmas. In December, there was also Socks, a holiday blanket with stockings on it. It has since been put away.
Then after she is covered, I kiss the top of her warm soft bald head. My lips never touch her skin however, as I have a mask on to protect her from me. My daughter needs protected from me. The thought she needs protected from me, her mother, makes me a bit sad, even after all this time. I tell her I love her. And in her weak, hoarse voice she whispers it back.
Before I’m even laid down, she starts making whimpering sounds. She has that quickly fallen asleep. Her whimpers sound distressed tonight, so I ask her if she is in pain. “No mom,” she replies. “Your crying in your sleep,” I tell her. She tells me she knows but can’t seem to make it stop. I lay down my head and the whimpers start again.
I take my pillow and move it to the other end of the pulled out chair that I sleep on. This way I can reach her, as she has been sleeping in the recliner for the last couple weeks because she coughs when she sleeps in the bed. I take my cell phone and open up the Pandora app, and change the channel to “Jim Brickman Piano.” I turn up the volume and lay it on the window sill. The music fills the room.
I roll to my side and reach my arm beyond the pulled out chair I lie on, and place my hand on her. I pull back the blanket, tonight just Pinky and I find her foot. She has a pair of those yellow slip proof socks on but she can feel my hand there. Her whimpers slowly calm. And we both fall alseep.