Room 4

If you’re a sensitive person, I advise you not to read this.

When my mum died, it wasn’t like the typical scenes you see in movies when people die of cancer.

The room was dim, and grey. There were no pristine white sheets, white walls, bright windows. The blinds were drawn and the room was cramped and small, especially with the three or more chairs we had crowded round the bed at any one time.

In the movies, the cancer patients always seem to have a perfectly bald head, or a neat headscarf. Their eyes might look a little sallow, their skin a little pale, but for the most part they look like beautiful ghost of a person. (disclaimer: I’m just going on what I’ve seen in movies and tv shows)

The image of my mother’s dead body is one that haunts me. It’s the kind of image you think of late at night when that childlike fear of the dark comes alive, and you wonder what might be in the dark shadows of your bedroom, or hiding in your wardrobe.

And I hate it.

I hate that sometimes, when I think of her, that is the first image that comes into my head. I don’t want to remember her like that.

She looked skeletal. Sagging skin wrapped over frail bones. Sallow cheeks, head tilted back, mouth open wide in a way that horrifyingly looked like a pained scream.

I only glanced at her face once when I entered the room where she died for the final time, but that image will haunt me till the day I die.

There was nothing, absolutely nothing “beautiful” about her death.

There was only pain.

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