The term doctors use to soften the phrase, "your mother bled to death."

Quiet Sunday morning drives home from church quickly change to the catastrophic, apocalyptic sight of a drunken red neck swerving into the intersection. My father's hands rapidly, but still too slowly, turning the wheel. Perhaps the sun radiating from my mother's hair and the calm glimpse of her should have foreshadowed her new life as an angel. Glass ricocheted about the car like confetti from my last birthday party, omens of a bad year.

Machines breathed for my mother until her oxygen mask began to drown her. "No way to save her," the doctors claimed just before stepping away from her cold corpse. Her hand was damp when I clutched it to my chest, as if feeling my heartbeat could bring hers back. I can still feel my brother's arms tugging at my waist just before we collapsed onto the cold linoleum. His elbow shattered along with his high school football career.