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The Guy I Didn’t Fuck

I’m traveling right now and I’d warned the bottoms around here I’d be in town and up to breed.

My top contender for my load was fucking adorable. We had been texting back and forth for close to a week (on and off) when it came to the time when the boy needed to put his ass in the air.

With some, when it comes to being with me, they need some assurances. I need assurances too. I’ve had too many catfish — so many, I could open a seafood restaurant. I need convinced a person is real.

He needed convincing I’d not leave him with HIV or an STD.

Supposedly, he was in my hotel when he sent this line:

“I’m sorry I keep asking but it would be bad for a nurse to pop up with HIV.”

I went back to reread that.

Surely, someone going into healthcare — someone who would care for people with all sorts of diseases, disorders and maladies — did not just imply that male nurses were not supposed to become poz.

Having known plenty of poz men (and women) in many, many professions including nursing (and doctoring, for that matter), my hard cock took a turn south as the blood rushed to my finger tips and I furiously began typing to this little fucker.

I was pissed.

Would it be bad for a nurse to pop up diabetic? With high cholesterol? Obese?

This young man needed to get some sense fucked into him but I wasn’t going to do it, especially since I’d assured him I wasn’t giving him anything he’d judged as “bad.” In the end, I thought it better to deny him cock and cum. I just couldn’t support him knowing that his sexy ass somehow justified him getting bred. Sure, I could have bred him, telling him I was filling him up with toxic, puss-filled, virus-laden cum. But it would just play into the damned critics who make my life enough of a challenge I’m in semi-retirement now.

Instead, I sent him on his way without his ass fulfilled with what he really needed. And I told him that he indeed turned into the bottom inspiration that brought me out of retirement to write.

I hope no one gets sick and gets cared for by this little son-of-a-bitch. If you do and he perceives you somehow, Male Nurse McJudgie is not going to give you 100% of the loving care you deserve.

May his ass rot cumless (and condomless) until his dying day.

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Q&A: Can His Poz (But Undetectable) Load Go into My Neg Ass and I Stay Neg?

Q&A: Can His Poz (But Undetectable) Load Go into My Neg Ass and I Stay Neg?

QuestionI love reading your blog! Not only is it hotter than fuck, but it’s also super informative.

My partner and I are both in our 40s. He’s poz, I’m neg. Recently, after almost a decade together, we started fucking bareback.

When I fuck him, I don’t use a condom and I cum inside him.

When he fucks me (which is more frequent) he pulls out and cums on my ass. I’d love for him to cum inside me but he won’t do it. He doesn’t want to be responsible for making me poz.

His viral load has been undetectable for years.

What are the risks to me if he were to cum inside me? I really want his load in me.

Your blog rocks!

AnswerKudos on you two sharing your DNA! Well, one of you is sharing yours, actually. You really want his and to experience jizzjoy Open-New-Window-External.

I’m going to give you the skinny first with a couple of alternatives.

What Your Doctor Might Say…

What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Slap that condom on both of you and forget about it.

The Drug Route

Serodiscordant Open-New-Window-External couples, as a physician would call you, makes the negative partner a perfect candidate for prophylaxis Truvada Open-New-Window-External regimen, which means you’d take the antiviral as a precaution against getting HIV.

It’s an expensive choice and, in some cases, your insurance may not cover it since it’s just preventative. Plus, you may or may not suffer side effects of the drug.

Now for what I really think.

And part of me wants to take you both, slap you up side the head and then have your partner fuck you and teach you, as a bottom, how to make sure that fucking load ends up with it belongs.

You’re both already doing everything else.

When You Fuck Your Boyfriend

Let me paint a picture.

Micron-DickThis is your cock in the photo your provided to the right. It is 8 inches long and 4 inches around.

Now because HIV is a little bugger, I’m just (for fuck’s sake) going to convert inches into millimeters because that’s the smallest measurement we all think of in our daily lives (but you’re going to be proud because your cock is going to sound huge).

Your cock is 203 mm long and 102 mm around.

The approximate surface area of your cock is 24,000 square millimeters (if your cock were a perfect cylinder, and that calculation skips the base).

That much surface area is going into the HIV-rich juices of your boyfriend’s ass every time you fuck him. Every time. Deep in his gut.

Visualize that for a moment. The smallest skin cut gives a route into your skin.

Now to get really fucking real, HIV is 10,000 times smaller than a millimeter. HIV is about 0.1 micron. In other words, if we were to measure the area of your cock in microns, that would be 24 million square microns. And each square micron could give 100 bugs to pass through at any given time.

Let’s multiply that out even more and say that the “holes” available for HIV to invade your body just through your cock’s surface area alone is something like 2.4 billion.

But so far, you haven’t gotten it.

It’s not like you’re not risking getting it when you fuck him.

When Your Boyfriend Tops You

Has he put a cork in his cock? Has he assured there’s no precum slipping out through that pee-hole?

I’ve never gotten the whole “pulling out” bullshit, which is why I blast inside (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Now he’s inside you, pumping away. Your most vulnerable moments are when you first stretch out and microfissures can open up in the linings of the colon. The colon offers lots of opportunity to transfer bodily fluids both ways, but of course the bottom is receiving.

As he’s fucking you in those early stages, he is grinding his fluids into your ass and into whatever openings are there. You’re getting his precum, his spit, his sweat, left over piss, and pretty much anything else between the two of you anyway.

Take those same measurements and of his cock and you can take the amount of your interior skin being exposed to his fluids through that touch.

I’m skipping your oral activity and the debatable kissing and other fun stuff. And I didn’t even bother to suggest there might be something a little more kinky going on.

Here’s the Point

If you were to become poz, it likely would have already happened. But let me make the logical point.

Your boyfriend’s viral load — the amount of the virus in his blood — is undetectable. I can’t stress this enough. Tests can’t detect it.

I know it’s not an exact congruence, but it’s like HIV has gone into remission. It’s hiding. It’s somewhere in the body, but you just don’t know where it is or when and where it will likely turn up.

While there’s a chance that it could change at anytime and reemerge, for now he’s essentially negative.

You’re both basically seroconcordant Open-New-Window-External.

Either fuck or don’t. I personally say fuck. Your boyfriend needs to understand that you can just as easily become HIV-positive by what you’re currently doing if the virus decides to return. But tomorrow there could be an earthquake or an asteroid or a car wreck. I’m not suggesting you live your life as if you’ll die tomorrow. I’m suggesting you live your life as if the traffic light is on green all the time, not yellow.

Postscript

You do need to be prepared for the possibility of conversion Open-New-Window-External, even if you keep fucking the same way you are now. And while I wouldn’t pretend to know the nature of your relationship, I am betting you don’t have a problem with being poz. He’s not hearing you right now because he sees the prejudice that being positive brings among gays.

I want that to stop as much as you do. My point of all this was to make it clear that you both are lucky to have found one another. It’s a wonderful thing to share and your partner needs to stop feeling guilty that he might expose you to something that you’re exposed to already.

It’s a choice you’ve both made to share. I think it’s wonderful.

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Mark Bentson aka iBLASTinside welcomes getting messages from his readers and loves answering them. Send a message to iBLASTinside@gmail.com mailbox_full or hit him up on his contact page Opens new window of a page on this blog.

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Q&A: I want to bottom but it just hurts too much. Is there any way I can make it happen?

Q&A: I want to bottom but it just hurts too much. Is there any way I can make it happen?

QuestionI’m pretty new to getting fucked. I was only fucked once successfully by a guy I was blowing for like a half an hour, slowly edging him. I was really drunk, so I was relaxed I guess. He was like 7 inches and pretty thin cock. When he went behind me i didn’t even really think he was gonna fuck me and it didn’t hurt bad going in. I did feel it when he was pounding me though. He used lube.

Since then I’ve had three guys try it: Two with no lube and today, a guy had lube (but I’m not sure he used enough). They were all smaller than the first guy. All of them it hurt so bad when they were putting it in, I just ended up blowing them.

Hurting-Bottoms-AssSo yes… I’m a bad bottom right now, but I don’t want to be. I loved the feeling of the one man dominating my asshole and kind of feeling like he was up there for a few days after.

I identify as a bottom, because I am a submissive and want to please the man with the cock.

Is there anything i can do to kind of soften the blow of the first thrust in? It seems to be I hear that after I do it a few times that it will be easier. I really don’t want to do poppers or anything. I was thinking maybe if I got a dildo it would stretch out some.

I see a lot of people saying go slow at first, which makes sense. But it seems to me maybe I should have them do the first push in — like a few inches — to get past my sphincters. Then hold it there until I adjusted so it would just be one moment of intense pain. Then i could deal with the fucking pain, which seemed okay.

I know it’s my fault for either being too nervous and not accepting it or not being prepared.

Also, I’m not really sure what a portable douche is. I want to be as clean as possible. Is there some kind of thing you just fill up with water and squirt it up your butt? And how long before you fuck do you do it?

I hope your answer isn’t suck it up and just take it, but that might be the only one. It just really really hurts.

I want to be a good bottom and to please my guys when they want me to turn around.

I figured you had experience with this so i would ask you. I know it’s a lot of questions. Thank you for your time.

A Bottom in Pain

 

AnswerDear Bottom in Pain,

Suck it up.

That is the easy answer, but it’s not the right answer for you — obviously. I don’t like seeing bottoms going unbred, especially when they’re begging for it. Let’s step through a few options.

bullet I’m not sure why you’re refusing the assistance of poppers Opens new window of a page on this blog. I hear this sometimes with people and it baffles me. Poppers can be legally obtained pretty much everywhere and their effects are rather temporary. You will find that the most intense sensations occur within 30 seconds of snorting them and by five minutes later, no residual effects will remain. Perhaps you are one of the small percentage of people with low blood pressure, which makes using poppers dangerous because you might pass out. 

bullet Prior to having sex (by at least 30 minutes), please take pain medication. If it’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen (I believe four of each, which is double the recommended amount, makes for “prescription strength) is a good option. If you happen to have prescription pain medication or muscle relaxers, consider those as well.  You should consider this also if poppers Opens new window of a page on this blog cause you headaches instead of avoiding poppers all together (and better quality poppers won’t cause headaches usually).

bullet Buy a dildo or vibrator of normal size and work your ass every night. I don’t mean every other night or when you’re horny. I mean every, single night. With this exercise, I recommend you do some deep breathing (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and relaxation techniques (just search YouTube for “5-minute relaxation” if you need help). When the speaker talks about relaxing the body, you focus on your asshole and relax it. Accept the dildo. Use the poppers a couple of times. Just close your eyes and make it happen. It won’t be easy at first, but eventually — probably by the third week — you will be able to take the dildo in your ass during the five minute exercise.

bullet Once you can take the dildo in five minutes (all the way in), begin fucking yourself with it. Explore your insides. Find the spots that feel good and the ones that don’t. Yes, at first, you feel like you need to shit. That’s normal. But you will get past that. For the next month, you just need to explore.

anal-bulb-douchebullet Now these two months could be a little messy unless you douche (we’ll talk portable douche in a moment). I recommend the anal bulb douche as your first option (you can see it to the right). The most prevalent thing to notice about this is its very thin spout. You want one like this to clean your ass. In the shower and prior to play, do a few squirts into your ass, hold and then release. If you can get two or three bulbs full into your ass before release, even better. This is also teaching your ass muscle control. By the way, use a sensitive, hypoallergenic liquid soap as lubricant and make sure the water isn’t too hot that you squirt inside.

bullet Throughout this process, you should be paying attention to your body and noticing your body’s schedule. When do you normally take a shit? You need to notice when you eat and how long it takes to process that meal. A good bottom knows his body and its normal rhythms. I know bottoms who will stick to protein shakes or juice a couple of days prior to big gang bangs to avoid passing solids. Learning how your body processes and passes wastes is important to being clean and providing a top the optimum experience. For me, if I get shitdick Open-New-Window-External, the bottom is licking it clean.

bullet When you are with a top, begin with one who will let you sit on his cock first. I personally love this position to begin with anyway. It warms me up after good sucking. Using lube is important but not vital. It’s more about the bottom relaxing and opening up. Sounds like to me you’ve got a case of stage-fright. If you’re in control — which is the top position, where you sit on the cock — you control the pace. And here’s where you have some fun. If it hurts, ease off it. Tell the top he’s got a nice big cock. Let your ass relax a bit. Then ease back onto it. The second time in won’t be as bad. And you might even need to come off again before burying the bone.

bullet Once you adjust to the sensation, switch to a position where the top has more control. If it gets to hurting, start begging the top to cum. Hurting too much, switch off and suck a little. Change position. Don’t say it’s hurting too much. And never let it end in a blowjob. Just give your ass a rest but remember your relaxation techniques to allow you to take his cock.

bullet Eventually, you’re going to want to get a permanent shower shot douche for your home. This is an attachment for your shower. Every good bottom has one and swears by it. Knowing your body’s rhythm and cleaning out daily is not unusual for every bottom. I know bottoms who can be ready is less than five minutes, no matter where they happen to be located.

Squeeze-Bottle-Accordianbullet As for a portable douche, nothing really handy exists, but my favorite improvised device is one I saw a bottom carry with him. Technically, you can find it in the cake decorating section of your grocery store (or you might need to go to a more crafty kind of place). The squeeze bottle accordion can be compressed into a smaller format for carrying so it’s about an inch tall. At your destination, you can use water from the sink to squirt into your ass. As a suggestion, leave the water running when expelling from your ass so your top doesn’t hear that. He doesn’t want to think you were just dirty.

bullet Might I also suggest carrying one of these is good for any bottom who wishes to get the cum out of his ass as soon as possible. Look, I prefer a bottom keep my DNA inside him. But bottoms like to lie. I know that. Using this, one can rinse out an ass if there’s some level of fear of a possible disease transmission. Leaving the cum and other juices inside just causes it to fester. There’s debate whether a spermicide will kill HIV or cause it to thrive. I’d err on the side of killing it since you’re rinsing it out. Again, leave the water running or, better yet, take a shower after the fun.

I hope this answers all your questions.

Yours in DNA,
Mark 
aka iBLASTinside

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Q&A: Truth Inside the Truth & the Truth When It Should Be a Lie

Q&A: Truth Inside the Truth & the Truth When It Should Be a Lie

Grindr-Hate-MessageHIV is a stigma. Don’t ask me. Ask someone who has it. Ask anyone who’s bold enough to actually put on their Grindr, Manhunt or Scruff profile that their Poz and see what happens. Here’s an example I used earlier of a friend of mine on Grindr who was messages for his profile which honestly revealed he’s Poz Opens new window of a page on this blog.

It’s bullshit.

Lately, I’ve gotten a couple of questions from readers who had issues involving Poz men, one making me think of this particular bias. I thought both were particularly telling and deserved to be told. Forgive me for sharing because I didn’t exactly ask these gentlemen’s permission, but I think I’ve averted anything devastating and I’m obscuring their identities.

Truth Inside the Truth:
Who Should Fuck Me, Poz or Undetectable?

QuestionI had only ever barebacked with boyfriends…. But I’m feeling that total slutty sex itch from deep within my hole and I kind of want to try bareback with a total stranger. Let’s face it: it was fucking hot, man! So, I joined BarebackRT.com Open-New-Window-External.

The first couple of days the only hits I got were from guys in the country and a couple of men in my home state, but several hundred miles away.

Today, I got hit up by two VERY hung tops, both within five miles of my home. One top says, “Undetectable.” The other says, “Positive.”

I really want to give it up again and I really want it to be raw, but  their status just scares me.

I almost hope I had never even looked at their status. I don’t know. I wonder if I would have even cared had I not known.

Which leads me to question whether or not I’m ready… A big part of me says, “Fuck it! Let’s do it!” But the other me says, “No.”

Advice?

(Give your own answer! Scroll to the survey below Scroll Down.)

 

AnswerYou need to ease into this world you’re exploring. So much of what you’re been conditioned is that HIV Poz is bad and you’ll die if you get it. No matter how much you logically know that’s not true, you still have this embedded conditioning — and almost Pavlovian response — that creates and illogical fear of bareback sex.

It just isn’t true.

So let’s just break through this with a little more logic.

Men who are undetectable have technically at one point been exposed to HIV. However, their antiviral cocktails have been so effective that it’s resulted in repressing the virus so far down that a blood test cannot detect it.

Basically, these guys are now neg again.

HIV hasn’t disappeared from the body. However, the main route by which the the virus is transmitted lacks it.

Your chances of getting infected by an undetectable man are more than likely less than a man who claims he’s neg. Here’s why:

Neg men aren’t really that religious and consistent about having themselves checked for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Neg men really don’t have a doctor hovering over blood tests to check all their levels and call them when a six-month test is missed.

HIV-neg men aren’t even notified or bothered about their next test by most gay doctors. And that’s the sexually active men who’ve bothered to tell their doctors they bareback.

Fuck, mine doesn’t even know I go raw. He lectures me but just assumes I’m using condoms.

You are so much safer with undetectable on a cocktail. There’s no guarantees. But just fuck it and go for it. You’ll be glad you did. Then in about six weeks, set up an appointment and keep it every three to six months.

Eventually, the guilt fades and your fear response will die down and you’ll just remember the fun.

 

Truth When It Should Be a Lie:
He Said, ‘Fuck Off, I Don’t Fuck Poz Bottoms!’

I get on Scruff and meet this fucking hot thirtysomething. We get to chatting and, bonus of all bonuses, he takes cock raw and tells me it’s his policy for the top not to pull out. I assure him that iBLASTinside (and he doesn’t get it — obviously, not a reader).

He can’t wait for me to fuck him bit I’m sort of booked for the afternoon when he says he only gets fucked twice a year.

“Twice a year?” I question. “You surely get fucked a lot more than that. You’re really hot.”

Well, he explains the Poz thing turns men off. And he’s a bit of a stickler on being honest and up front. He refuses to use a condom so he gets told more often to “fuck off” rather than to “get fucked.”

He doesn’t exactly ask a question, but it ends up I give him a bit of advice.

(Give your own answer! Scroll to the survey below Scroll Down.)

Answer(for advice) As it turns out, you’ve recently tested “undetectable.” This means that if the traditional HIV tests were run at this time, the virus could not be found in your blood — you’d appear essentially “negative” to people. 

At one point, you appeared positive, but if you said, “In my most recent tests, I came out ‘negative,’ you technically would not be lying.” This is especially true since you will be acting as the bottom.

I understand you have a conscious and you feel telling these random hook-ups — and that’s what they are — a random hook-up — that you’re negative and you’ve actually tested positive at one point may be considered a lie. But the risk you present to these slutty barebackers is almost non-existent.

Like I say above, it’s more risky for these guys to have sex with men who believe they’re neg but aren’t being tested all that often.

It is their own bias that drives them to say, “No” to you when chances are, several of the supposed “neg” guys aren’t neg at all. You’re safer to fuck than any of them.

Further, let’s look at it in another direction:

Let’s say your grandfather on your mother’s side was black. You look white. But the guy has one of those racist profiles that say, “Not into black guys. Sorry. Just how I am.” Technically, dude, you are a little black. Now he messages you because you look white. You’re attracted to him. You pass as white.

But the truth is, you are part black.

Do you tell him you’re black?

It’s not going to hurt him not to know. In fact, it might be a lot of fun.

What Do You Think?

Now it’s your turn to chime in. I’ve got three questions based on my advice. I want to see what you all think about my responses:

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Who should the neg guy get fucked by?

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If you're poz but undetectable, is it okay to tell a hookup you're actually neg?

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If your maternal grandmother was black but you look white and a hook-up says he doesn't like blacks, should you tell that hook-up you're part black?

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The Missing Post: The Death of My Mother

The Missing Post: The Death of My Mother

This entry isn’t sexy at all. You might want to skip it entirely.

I scolded someone today about missing a post regarding the death of my Mother and, when I went back to find it, realized it wasn’t there myself. I apologize to that reader since several places throughout my blog, I do refer to my Mother’s death but the recount of it seems to be missing.

I had debated writing about it when it happened in January of 2010. In fact, the gap of my posts seem almost invisible now looking back, covered up by Q&A posts that seemed popular at the time. Truth is, I probably did post something but along the way to this platform or in some cleaning frenzy, I deleted it as too overly sentimental or not sexy enough.

Yet that incident has significant bearing on two things in my reportour of posts these days: My extraordinary dislike of smoking Opens new window of a page on this blog and my intense disdain of catfish Open-New-Window-External.

By the way, the photo included here is actually a real photo I told of me holding my Mother’s hand one long and painful night and texted it to the catfish.

flower_white          flower_white          flower_white          flower_white

A Second Hospital Visit

My job at the time had me travel throughout December through March. I’d returned home in January after another string of visits and my uncle, who’d just left, suggested I go immediately to see my Mother, as she wasn’t feeling well.

About six years earlier, I’d moved back to Georgia from Washington, D.C., to help care for my elderly parents. My father had passed in 2005, all of us by his side. But he was at home in hospice care. I’d been his primary caretaker during his final two weeks, administering the painkilling medicine that eased his discomfort and helped him ultimately make the transition as easily as possible.

To be honest, his passing was almost one of a miracle, as we’d talked about a month before about his wishes at his funeral. As he breathed his last breath, all of the family around him, hugging him, crying and saying good-bye, the television began playing the one song he’d asked to be played at his funeral.

Compared the the gentle but stoic nature of my Father was the truly steel magnolia Machiavellian matriarch that was my Mother. I loved her dearly. But at 78 years old, she would ignore every doctor’s advice (and my orders) and do as she wished.

From almost 42 years of smoking, her chronic obstructed pulmonary disorder made the most simple tasks brutal. Yet she would insist on housework, fixing dinner, driving herself places, and more, her little portable oxygen tank in tow. And I’d drive her all over the family gatherings, with her often upset when I deviated from the old routes to take quicker, new highways.

I’d been travelling all over the country — three cities this last nine-day tour — and I wanted to sleep and rest because the next week I would be off for two more cities. But instead, I dragged my fat ass over to see Mom.

She’d been sleeping on the sofa across from the hospital bed I’d had in her home for the last six months but she refused to use because there wasn’t a lamp close enough to it.

More petite and frail, her hands and arms dotted with bruising from whenever she’d bump up against anything, she insisted “something was wrong.”

I struck a bargain with her: We’d go to the hospital but when she came home, she’d have to learn to do what I said. After all, I reminded her how she bossed around her Mother (my Grandmother) for 10 years before her passing. I told her she needed me let me get a little bossing in.

Now that I look back, she agreed too quickly.

It was the second time I took her to the hospital but the first time she would be admitted.

Nothing Out of the Ordinary

Mother had bronchitis. When I moved home, I went to the doctors with both of my parents and spent time with their primary care and any specialist, learning as much as I could about their chronic conditions. I also learned what to expect when the time would come.

For Mother, it would be a series of lung infections that would get steadily worse over time until essentially, she could not get enough oxygen and would suffocate.

“The process is beginning,” I told myself.

When I moved home, Mother’s lung capacity was at 23 percent of normal. Even though she’d quit smoking about five years before I came back to Georgia, her lungs would never heal. That’s one of the myths about smokers. If you quit, your lungs don’t get better. Actually, they continue to deteriorate — just at a much slower pace.

Each year, Mother would lose between 1 and 2 percent of capacity. She currently hovered around 17 percent.

She began making a rebound quickly with the antibiotics and everything seemed fine. But one afternoon, she told me something was wrong.

“What is it, Mom?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Can you tell me what’s wrong?”

My Mother’s eyes contained sheer terror in them. I noticed the her oxygen saturation in her blood on the monitor suddenly dropping. I hit the nurse call button.

In the next 30 minutes, we were in the Intensive Care Unit. The doctors wanted to intubate my Mother — that is, put a tube into her lungs to breathe for her. And in her fear, my Mother consented. But I overruled her, pulling out my power of attorney. One of the healthcare directives she’s insisted upon in it was to never be intubated and the doctors agreed, saying if we did, she’d likely never be able to be taken off since her lungs would never be strong enough.

She was put onto a machine that strapped an oxygen mask onto her face so tight, it made bruises all over her face. It would force her to breath.

She cried through the night, hating that machine. I was there the whole time, holding her hand. She asked constantly for it to be taken off. But I asked her to bear with me just a little longer to see if it would help.

But in 24 hours, her condition didn’t improve.

My only companion other than some family and friends who would stop by was a words at the other end of texting. The person was comforting in so many ways. And I was at my most vulnerable, here, next to my dying Mother, feeling the most alone in the world.

The reassurance of his care and love for me seemingly helped. But later, I would discover it was all a lie. He didn’t exist. And I’ll be honest — what that person did, the betrayal just reaches so deep into places where I’m still scarred and hurting that I can’t even begin to explain or even discuss it. It’s actually easier to talk about my Mother.

Relief at Last

With no improvement and really no hope, I spoke to all the doctors the next day to assure that switching to palliative care would be the right choice. I wasn’t prepared for this decision so early. I’d expected to take Mother home and have a few more hospital visits before this event. But that wasn’t to be.

I then spoke to my sister and my aunt to make sure they agreed. Turns out I was the late one to the decision, but I had to be there. It was time for me to talk to Mother.

We turned that horrible machine off and took it away. My Mother was so relieved it wasn’t working on her now and she could breathe at whatever pace she wanted. I went and sat down, alone, next to her, put my hand in hers, feeling the warmth and the knotted knuckles from the arthritis. Her poor body was just so battered and bruised, but through it all I could see that beautiful woman who cared for me through all my years, kissed my boo-boos. She guided me kindly and occasionally spanked me. I pulled her hand to my lips and kissed it, feeling that rough skin that still contained a softness. I brushed back her gray hair from her bruised forehead and looked into the dimming brown eyes.

“Mother,” I said in a quiet tone, managing to keep it together.

“Yes,” she said.

“We had a choice and I want to know what you think,” I said. “I know you hate that machine but it’s your only hope of getting any better.”

I paused, as I could see the recognition come across her face.

“We can put you back on it and try to make you ask comfortable as possible,” I continued. “Or we can leave you off of it and you can go see Daddy.”

A single tear streamed down my left cheek.

She didn’t answer immediately. But she did finally speak.

“I think I’d rather go see Daddy. I really miss him.”

My Mother and Father were married 53 years before he passed away. Of course she missed him.

I hugged her.

The Rebound

Over the next few hours, Mom seemed to feel better than ever, visited with so many people. It’s one of those miraculous gifts we get before we die and we get to say goodbye. I have a precious video of her time with my nephew that just would tear anyone apart to watch.

She laughed so much. I was so glad to see that. I hadn’t seen her with that much joy in so long.

It was then I began to realize just how sick she’d been.

And if on schedule, as the final people left and the last prayers were uttered, she slipped into a silent, fitful sleep. With all the paperwork signed, I had the nurses begin to add morphine and other calming drugs to make her sleep more restful.

Just after midnight, she stopped breathing in this world. But she got a lung-full of air somewhere else.

I screamed, not in pain, but at the top of my lungs, “She can finally breathe!”

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