My sister lay there, intubated, paralyzed, her lips cracked and dry around the plastic tube that had been forced down her throat.
I sat there alone with her, listening to the machines beep and hum, the air being forced in and out of her body.
"I wish we were at a Neville Brothers concert instead of doing this," I said.
Her eyes widened. She turned her head toward me. Around the tube, she mouthed, "No shit."
Both of us sat there in silence, tears leaking from our eyes.
"Oh, god, this sucks," I said. That was the last thing I remember saying to her. Doctors came in, the bustle of the hospital started, and she died the next morning.
Yesterday I sat in the shade on a hillside on a perfect warm day, thousands of people in beach chairs crowding the hill below me, a open-air stage at the bottom.
When the Neville Brothers took the stage, I burst into tears again, remembering. CC and Jim comforted me as I spilled my story.
Then I went down and bounced around like a dancing fool on the lawn in front of the stage.
When Aaron sang a medley of "Amazing Grace," "One Love" and "Train to Jordan," my heart was stretched wide open with joy. I know she was there with me. She had to be.