you think you’re ready when something, someone, decides it’s time for her to leave. leave you with a hole in your heart nothing can mend, leave you with a dull ache you feel when you see an old couple still in love, still alive, leave you with a feeling that anybody could be next, leave you, period. but you’re never ready, even when you’ve spent your entire life preparing for it, knowing since kindergarten that this would be how it ended, with a whimper and not a bang, with cancer in her breasts, her bones, her nerves, tearing her down from the inside right before your eyes. but you never thought about it, because you’re still sixteen like you don’t know what to do, and you leave that day because there would be another day to see her, another day where her eyes would still light up like she recognised you. you thought maybe she would get better like she did in fifth grade, when remission was a word that guaranteed you a mother for another six years. and you just continued to love like there would be a tomorrow, argued like you could say “i’m sorry” in the morning. but sometimes the morning comes and you realise that you’d forgotten, for a brief but vivid moment, that you’re alone.