How do you say goodbye?

I sat behind my mother as she died. I felt the labor of her breathing which made my own muscles sore from the back and forth force of her breath. I wanted to lay her down, but my sister, Anne, had not arrived and I felt she deserved to say goodbye.

I knew it was over when I found her Tuesday morning, asleep with her lips slack against her teeth. There was no muscle control to even keep her lips together in their usual position, and when I saw this, I knew it was over, for real, no more second chances, no more arguments, no more "I love yous" for the rest of my life.

Anne was the last person she ever spoke to. The last word uttered from her throat was "Hi."