By J. Bayer
I’ve always liked this gun – it’s a military issue Colt, Model 1911, .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol. I was fascinated by it the first time my father put it in my hands as a little girl. My mother disliked him having it in the house and was abhorred when she saw him hand it to me.
“Better she learn how to handle it properly,” he argued.
Secretly, I’d hoped to inherit the gun one day, but that’s not exactly how I came by it. My father contracted multiple sclerosis and there came a time, when he could still move about, that my mom brought the gun to me.
“He’s been depressed,” she explained. “It’s best you keep it.”
I watched my mom take care of my dad for nine years, right up until he died, and when she asked to come live with me, I couldn’t refuse her. I should have listened to my husband more carefully.
My mom could be a difficult woman – she liked pushing buttons, and she finally found my husband’s divorce button. I tried not to resent her, to be the good daughter, and care for her as she did my father for all those years. But I failed.
Four months ago, I came home from work tired and self-absorbed in my own problems. My mom was complaining of back pain. This wasn’t anything new – she was always complaining about one imagined ailment or another. Just before bedtime, it was obvious she was in real distress and I rushed her to the hospital. The doctors did everything they could, but she’d suffered a major heart attack.
“Had you gotten her in earlier we might have saved her.”
I think about that everyday. It isn’t just the guilt. Death is final. There are no take backs or saying you’re sorry.
I don’t have any children. If I did, I’d surely give this gun to them.