'...So, in conclusion, my mother was a lot of things- she was nurturing and kind, ruthless in her good judgment, and fierce in her protectiveness over her patients. It didn’t matter if it was a three-year-old with leukemia, or a murderer who got beat half to death in a prison ward. A patient was a patient, and she was always there to fight for them, until her last breath.
Suicide didn’t take my mother’s life- terminal cancer did. And that is why I believe it is important to mention that patients with a terminal diagnosis should have, in this state- and in every state- the right to a humane, ethical and painless end to their suffering. My mother’s exit was in effect an exercise of her own right to choose her end.
As grieved as I am that my mother is no longer here, I respect that choice. As a physician, she knew the path that her cancer would take. And I, for one, am thankful that my last moments with her were happy ones, filled with her coherent and peace-filled words of wisdom.
As my mother requested, in lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Death with Dignity and signing the letter to our local representative during the meal that will follow this service. My mother would have greatly appreciated such a wonderful act of compassion from all of you. Thank you, and be blessed.'
As Clarke watched the cursor on the computer screen disappear and reappear, she sighed. That would have to be good enough...
Writing, even for a professional writer and artist, wasn’t always easy. Especially when the material was about one’s own mother, and the fact that she ended her own life in an effort to stage one last protest. What had hurt Clarke wasn’t that she did it, it was that she didn’t tell her that brunch over a week ago would be the last time she saw her mother alive. She didn’t tell her that she had been sick for years... no, she left it all in a letter, with one last wish-
That she herself get tested for the same gene that caused her mother’s aggressive and terminal uterine cancer.
Setting her computer to the side, Clarke pulled out her cigarettes. For Clarke, the act of writing was a great purge. And after any release, she loved to top it off with a little nicotine. One last pack- then she’d quit. As she lit it, she heard her front door open and close. Taking a deep breath, she let herself enjoy this before the impending attempted guilt trip on the part of her best friend.
“Seriously?” A familiar voice followed the sound of her sliding glass door, “your mother had cancer, Clarke, you might have the same gene. And you’re smoking?”
“First off, do have ... I do have the same gene, at least according to the geneticist I met with... and second, this is why you’re a doctor, and I’m a writer, Bellamy,” she answered cheekily, taking a long drag as he stepped out and sat next to her. As she looked over him in his black suit, Clarke noted that the look did him a lot of favors. If it weren’t her own mother’s funeral today, and if she was allowed to be drunk out of her mind, she could see herself trying to get him to fuck her in the bathroom of Kane’s house.
But- as much as she loved looking at him- she and Bellamy were best friends... so that wasn’t happening anytime soon.
“and this,” he said, pulling the cigarette out of her hand carefully, and putting it out on the pack, “is why I’m your person- no more cigarettes, Clarke.”
“God, you’re lucky I love you,” she sighed dryly, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, I am,” he nodded, his eyes falling to his hands, before catching sight of her bunny slippers through the glass table. As his eyes snapped up at her, she gave him a toothy grin, “are you going to get ready? Or are you wearing the bunny get up to your mother’s service?”
Remembering the matching robe, Clarke let out a tiny giggle, of course, she wasn’t going to, “don’t tempt me,” she teased, “I’m gonna get ready... read my speech, and tell me it’s wonderful?”
“What if it’s not?” Bellamy asked, pulling her laptop toward himself, “like what if it’s worse than your unedited fictional biography of a rabid raccoon?”
“Okay, that was a comedic piece, and you know it!” Clarke warned, turning at the door, “if it’s bad though, just lie pretty to me? It’s too late to rewrite it.”
“I gotcha,” he said, smiling softly, “I’ll lay it on thick. Now, go shower and I’ll read this.”
“Thanks, Bell,” Clarke murmured thoughtfully, “for everything.”
“Of course,” he said, smiling lightly, before peering at her speech.
As Clarke stood under the spray of the shower, she thought back to the first time she met Bellamy.
He had been knocking on the door of her studio apartment like a mad man. When she opened it to find a rather handsome man with earnest brown eyes and curls to match staring back at her- wearing scrubs from her mother’s hospital, she couldn’t help but crack a joke.
“Sorry, no one ordered a stripper,” she said, giggling and taking another drink of vodka out of the bottle, it was her birthday after all.
Despite his earnest nature, the man let out a little huff of a laugh, “I- I’m not. My name’s Bellamy... Your mom sent me. She said you don’t have a license and you can’t drive to the hospital? But she needs you to get there right away... it’s your father.”
“Fuck,” Clarke felt her world tilt on its axis, the one person who still cared about her- who loved her and was patient with her while she had gone down her dark spiral was hurt, “What happened?”
As she grabbed her stuff, Bellamy was rather silent, giving nothing away- that is, until she asked if her dad was still alive. Running his hand through his hair, the man let out a sigh, “I guess, it’s better to hear from a stranger,” he muttered, looking exasperated, “he’s barely alive. They’re keeping him alive so you can say goodbye... I’m sorry.”
“Yeah, me too,” Clarke said numbly as she followed Bellamy out to his car.
When she got to the hospital, she grabbed her father’s hand and tried not to cry as she said goodbye.
Of course, her mom was pissed that she was drunk, but she didn’t say anything more about it.
“He was coming home from the store, Clarke,” her mom said, “he got this for you...”
Clarke stared at the package- opening the card, she read the short but thought-out message.
Wow, 22! And... I know I shouldn’t call you that any more... but you’ll always be my little girl.
I know your mom is worried about your ‘lifestyle’ of late. We had a little fight about whether or not to give you anything this year... because she was afraid that you’d just sell it... But I have a faith in you, Clarke. You’ll turn it around- you've got too much of both us in you not to.
Beyond that, you’ve got too much of yourself in you to not be amazing.
I love you so much, and I hope you use this gift creatively... Maybe you could start writing again? Who knows where that will take you?
Happy Birthday, Honey.
Clarke didn’t open the gift until after the funeral. She hadn’t even taken it home... But when Bellamy showed up at her mom’s house for the after-service brunch, he had the present under his arm, and wouldn’t leave her alone until she opened it.
And there it was... a new laptop. Her ex, Finn who had cheated on her, had stolen her last computer to get the drugs he overdosed on. That had been what sent her into a spiral in the first place... and now. The last of her father she had left was this- a laptop and a burning desire to do better in his memory...
So, she wrote. Obsessively, neurotically.
And most of it was good- her first published book was inspired by her experiences with Finn, losing her father and her strange relationship with her mom.
It was also about the unlikely friendship between herself and the man who had told her, with his hand raking through his hair, that her father was as good as dead.
When Bellamy read it, he cried. But Bellamy always cries.
The last time Clarke cried was the day she mourned her father’s death- and she cried on Bellamy’s shoulder.
That and so many other things are what make him so special.
“So, what did you think?” Clarke asked, fetching her speech from the printer.
“Well, I think it was accurate. And very respectful. You captured your mother’s wishes well,” he said, and if anyone would know, it was Bellamy. She taught him and Jackson throughout med school, she was their references and helped them get jobs in the ER after they graduated. Sometimes, Clarke felt as if Bellamy knew her mother better than she did, “As always, you’re a wonderful writer, Clarke.”
“Thank you," she said, willing herself not to blush.
“I’m sorry about the result of the test,” Bellamy said, as they filtered into the hallway. As Clarke locked the door, he sighed, “I know that means you’ll have to get a hysterectomy... but it's better to know now, right?”
“Oh, yeah,” Clarke said, smiling, “I’m not worried about it.”
For a moment, As Clarke got into the elevator, Bellamy stood there staring at her, “really? You're just okay with losing a body part, Clarke? That’s... insane.”
“I won’t need it anymore,” she said casually, “now get in the elevator please.”
Bellamy was silent for a bit before he ventured further, “I’m not questioning your decision making, I’m just genuinely curious. Are you... freezing your eggs or something?”
Clarke let out an awkward laugh, now was not the time for this conversation, “No, Bell, I’m not.”
For a moment, Clarke watched Bellamy nod his head, as his hands delved into his suit pockets, “So- you’re gonna just-”
Interrupting him with a sigh Clarke decided to just get it over with, “This isn’t how I wanted to tell you. I’m gonna have a baby, Bellamy.”
“Oh?” he asked, as his fingers drifted up to loosen his collar.
“Yeah, and I was hoping you'd help me.”