She slumped back into the chair in the corner of the hospital room. The final beeps and alarms had been shut off, equipment disconnected and either removed or pushed out of the way. All of the doctors and nurses and orderlies and technicians and whatever else they were drifted out of the room to leave her alone with her grief. It had all happened so fast.
First father had passed. His heart unable to keep up with his age. It had been quick, and quiet just like he always was. Mother was another story, noisy, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Oh, and the commandments. There were so many commandments. Pick this up for me. I need that. Make sure the paintings go to your sister. Throw out all the clothes. There’s money hidden in a book by the nightstand I never told your father about. Do this, do that, fix the things left incomplete. So like her mother.
And now there was only silence. Not the silence she shared with Father. His silence was peaceful, at least it used to be. There he was, standing close enough to watch, to help if needed, but far enough away to allow the world to happen as it would, to let her grow up and learn from the consequences of her choices. Later, especially after she moved out, that silence between them extended to the point she often forget it, he, was even there.
Mother, on the other hand, interfered too much, always talking, asking questions, making suggestions, correcting, fixing; in a word: mothering. More like smothering. Nothing was good enough for Mother. Not her choice of schools, apartments, partners, and even spouses. She’d learned to tune out the noise, to push the hurtful guilt-laden words into the background.
Now she was truly alone. They were both gone. It was still too early to know, but she wondered which she would miss the most: the noise or the silence. And which was she to her own children? What now would they miss most about her? Was she noise or silence for them, or both?