Be Mother

One of my regular acupuncture patients, he arrives looking pale, not his usual cheery self. I try to make a joke, but he remains empty-faced. Something’s clearly wrong.

“Let’s sit down,” I say. “What happened?”

“My mom died,” he says. I feel my heart sink.

“Six weeks ago, she started bleeding,” he starts to explain. It was uterine cancer, he continues, but had shown itself only after taking full control.

“Mom, go to the doctor!” he says he told her—but she refused until last week, when it was too late. Two days later, he was saying to the doctor, “Please, just make her comfortable.”

I sit at my office table. No note-taking right now. No acupuncture needles. This intake is taking too long, but I let him talk. I try to hold back my tears. Be present. Be Earth. Be Mother.

Jiling Lin
Ventura, California

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