Category: family and loss

Last Days

Ten years after a nearly fatal hemorrhagic stroke, six years after she and my father’s combined decline resulted in a radical uprooting of her life, my mother’s often painful journey through old age is ended.

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Unstately Estate

The week surrounding my parents’ estate sale was, perhaps, more eventful than I might have liked, a trickster deity’s bulleted list of “what can go wrong, will go wrong.”

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Not Going Gentle

For the past few months I’ve thought about little else, and I think about it gingerly: Dylan Thomas meant something more noble than this. My eighty-three-year-old father is doing plenty of raging. My mother calls five, six, seven times a day. He won’t feed me. He won’t help me cut our pills. He says he’s going to leave and never come back. He’s outside walking, he says he’s going to walk himself to death. He doesn’t want to unlock the door for the caregiver in the morning. You have to do something. I can’t live like this.

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State of Grace

When we pull up in front of my parents’ house I notice the trees first. The almond whose slender shimmering leaves splashed my bedroom walls with pale green light as I studied Eliot, then Heidegger, then Knuth. The ornamental plums that stood at sober attention in a row along the side of the house, cracking their burgundy study only for a brief riot of pink in the spring. All cut down to stumps now. The fig and trumpet vines obscuring the chain link fence have been uprooted. The lawn has gone to crabgrass and the beds once full of impatiens and azaleas lie forlorn and empty.

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