I think my word count may have to stand as last reported, even though I'd need just over 2000 words to meet my minimum goal of 20,000.
Although I allowed for the usual effects of the holidays, I had no reason to expect my mother to become very ill, and then to die, just before Christmas.
She disappeared in the dead of winter.
All the brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
and snow disfigured the public statues.
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
the day of her death was a dark, cold day.
(Adapted from Auden's poem about the death of Yeats)