When I tried to imagine a future without my mother in it I pictured a short illness or a long decline. I never considered a zebra crossing on a dark night and a car that didn't brake in time.
My mother was planning our Christmas stockings and her spring tulips. Now she is in a coma. And my mother, who used to listen raptly to every trivial detail we told her, lies unheeding when we talk.
They say the hearing is the last thing to go. So I tell her that I'm wearing lipstick like she always begged me to; that I've dead-headed her pansies and burnt the supper I was trying to cook my father.
I want her to nag me about sterilising my dishcloths and taking my Vitamin C. I want her to tell me, like she always does, that she will make things be all right.
But I realise, as I gaze at the battered body in which my mother somewhere hides, that we are blessed. 'All I can, while I can,' she always told us. And she has never failed. Whether or not she returns to us, it's her love and strength that carry us onward. And that is the greatest legacy a person can leave.