Martha leaned forward and kissed the face of her little girl, Angie. It was pale and cold and the little girl’s eyes bravely stared back as if they were the only living part of the lifeless being. The same eyes were the ones that could hardly open a few minutes earlier even when all other organs seemed to be fighting for Angie’s life. Now the shiny brown eyes were all Martha had and she stared into them and hoped for a miracle but they didn’t blink.  There was no sign of life and she knew it but it would take her a million years to come to terms with that fact. It was no wonder that she was being treated for psychosis.

Martha had watched Angie fight for her life on that hospital bed for slightly over six months. Angie was about five and so she had to have her mother admitted to the hospital with her. The family had chosen the furthest room for the two and they had made it home. The first few weeks were filled with hope but when Angie’s condition got worse by the day, Martha had to see a counselor and later a psychologist to try and keep her sane. Martha stayed up on most nights with Angie so she could change her postures often and ensure she was fine. She only slept when she was sure Angie had slept too and on the night of Angie’s death, Martha watched her sleep but she did not wake up. It was as if she was spared the agony of seeing her daughter take the last breath after such a long battle with sickness.

The nurses let Martha be. She vehemently refused to have Angie’s corpse taken to the morgue when it was discovered that Angie had passed on. The nurses had seen mothers have a hard time accepting the deaths of their children but they had not met one who fought like Martha did. Martha grabbed Angie’s corpse and held it to her chest insisting that it would not be taken to the morgue before she read a bedtime story and did her evening routine one last time. She wanted to wash Angie and dress her in the blue pajamas that matched the colour of her eyes. Angie always insisted that her favourite bedtime story be reread but Martha had always tricked her into reading another story first. This time Martha would read that favourite story but it was a tad bit too late since Angie could not enjoy it. She kissed Angie goodnight on the forehead and tried to sleep hoping to wake up next to a pulsating wrist but not even that could bring back her daughter.

She heard the cock crow a third time and for some reason she remembered Peter’s denial of Christ in the Bible. She was not the best Christian there was so it was weird that she could associate the denial of her daughter’s death with a Biblical event but she had thought it anyway and there was no undoing that. It was about 3 or 4 the morning; she wasn’t sure and it didn’t matter enough to make her want to find out. Nothing mattered to her at this point. She felt hollow inside and it saddened her that she had cried all she could and her tear glands had dried out. She wanted to laugh, cry, scream, anything; anything that would distract her but there was no humor or fright to spur such emotional reactions.

The skin around her eyes had swelled and the bloodshot eyes only made her visage more of an eyesore. She continued to stare into the mirror but her thoughts were far beyond the dreadful face that stared back at her. She had not known more pain in all her years of living and it disturbed her that she could not see a doctor about it and the pain killers that lay in her daughter’s medicine cabinet were now useless. She couldn’t tell which of her body parts really ached but she knew that every so often she felt a pain so sharp strike her chest and it made her numb. It was like a butcher’s knife was cutting through butter and she imagined her tender heart being sliced into two across the atrium and ventricles. She did not know greater pain than that of losing her only daughter.