death

The End

It’s coming.

Last June, my 85-year-old mother fell and broke her hip. She’s mending nicely, champing at the bit to get out of the house on her terms, driving, traveling, and all the rest. While she convalesces, my 85-year-old father has borne the lion’s share of the burden of her care. I’ve helped out whenever asked–taking days off from work, whatever is needed. In doing so, I’ve been able to observe them close-up. And I don’t like what I see.

My father and mother are the same age. I watch my father move about the house. He moves slower, now. His steps are no longer as sure as they were five, seven years ago. He doesn’t look sickly–for their age, both my parents are in pretty good health–but he seems smaller, frailer. Taking care of my mother has been hard on him. He’s tired, I can tell. His mind is still sharp, though. We talk about current events and such and his insights always enlighten me. The way he correlates the past to the present. Like I was wondering why the Democrats just didn’t go ahead and start impeachment proceedings against 45. He said it was because they don’t have anything on him, nothing that would stick. He pointed out that when Sen. Goldwater confronted President Nixon, the senator told the president he had a choice: Resign or be impeached. He also told Nixon if he chose to fight, there was enough evidence to convict, “and the Senate will convict… Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Lori B.!

Today would have been my sister’s 61st birthday.

Lori died in 2010. Brain cancer. I gotta tell you, cancer is some nasty shit. It was horrible, worse than horrible, to watch her die. The tumor was huge–covering almost a quarter of her brain. I saw the pictures after her surgery. It looked like the surgeon had taken an ice-cream scoop and went to work. He couldn’t get all of the tumor because some of it was too close to her brain stem for comfort. So she had to go through chemo and radiation. That’s some nasty shit, too. Still, the cancer went into remission and in the end, it bought her 2 more years. But it came back. It was a type of cancer that always comes back, no matter what you do. And when it came back, it was inoperable. So I watched Lori die, little by little, piece by piece. I cursed the cancer that was killing her. I cursed Duke University for not doing enough to cure her. I cursed a whole lot of other stuff, too. The hardest part, though, was saying goodbye. We were in her room at the hospice. I saw the DNR tag attached to the end of her bed and lost it. Lori and I had our troubles growing up and we weren’t close but there was never any doubt about our sisterly love. So we’re at the hospice and by this time she’d lost her ability to speak. We stared at… Continue reading