My mom is rubbing my dad’s back, comforting him. We are a mess – sniffling and quaking with grief – and maybe that’s why when Grandma speaks, louder and more lucidly than in days, we don’t quite comprehend what she says. My dad bends toward her ear. “I love you too, Mom,” he says.
She repeats herself, but this time everyone has gathered to listen. For the first time, we all agree on exactly what she said, but we don’t quite believe it. “Did she just say she wants to eat?” I ask.
My brother says, “Grandma, are you hungry?”
There is a long pause during which all we hear is the pump of the oxygen machine.
“Bagel,” she finally says. “I need bagel with cream cheese.”
All Choked Up - The New York Times