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The Lone Bird Sings (extract)

She lifts her hand as I descend the stairs. I turn my head; drink in the sight of the frail form propped in a sea of pillows and wave back. The role has reversed. Whose is the reassuring hand?

My mother has come to a place of resignation after five long years negotiating motor neurone disease. I am heading off today. I have been here a week this time and must return home.

A week of watching and waiting. This dying business has a shoreline but no grassy edge to define where land might meet sea.

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