Alma’s Grace and Style

Written by Kate Heyhoe on October 10, 2011

This was the very first story ever published on the Five More Minutes With website, written by my friend and fellow cookbook author and food writer (turned artist), Kate Heyhoe.

To the Momster!

I’ve only got 5 minutes, so I’ve got to talk fast: You already know, I hope, how much I love you. Thank you for being my best friend and such an extraordinary person. You really got the fact that in this life, love means everything.

Dying doesn’t look easy. We were amazed how such a tiny person could last a full seven days and nights without food or water. But then again, you were never less than super-hero strong in character. Still, it wasn’t until both your children were in your room at the same time did you finally release and let go. We believe you were waiting for that very moment, with each of us holding your beautiful hands, to remind us to go on together as family. Your last breath was your exclamation mark.

I wish I had known better how to tell what your thrashing really meant, whether you were in agony or just seeing something that the living can’t. Were those “Oh, mama!” moans of extreme pain, or expressions of awe and wonder as you touched the next plane of consciousness?

The hospice nurses explained what each drug did, but they didn’t really prepare me for the rest of the details, the ones that drugs can’t fix. I figured it was okay to ramp up the morphine. But comforting a person transitioning through death just doesn’t seem to work the same way as cozying a person with a cold or the flu. Wish I could have done better. And I’m sorry we encouraged you to try cancer treatments; they bought a couple of years, but you may have been happier without them.


I think about you every day, and try to make those thoughts of joy now, rather than sorrow. Not always successful; I miss you so much. You are my muse, and as I work at your old oak drawing table, I feel your presence. You were and still are so inspiring, something I wish I had told you more often. And you were such a good person, going out of your way to bring a smile to everyone’s day just through a little comment or action. I think you were scared going into death, but I hope you’ve found a bright new phase of being, plump with joy and peace and all things good.

Until we play together again…
Lovey doveys,


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