Posts tagged "aging"
Why I Bought an Inflatable Hot Tub from Walmart on Black Friday During a Pandemic

Why I Bought an Inflatable Hot Tub from Walmart on Black Friday During a Pandemic

  Because my mother was tired of peeing her pants at Super Value Grocery Store. Because someone told her about an amazing same-day surgery that would fix everything. Because it was a miracle cure! Because the docs said they’d hoist her sorry leaky bladder up onto a miracle mini mesh “hammock.” Because they promised it...
At Sea

At Sea

  He holds the rock in his hand, size of a grapefruit, color of an orange if the orange had been scuffed with sand. Rough and bumpy, surface flaking with dried mud, it glitters in the sun, and I think how when I was a boy I might’ve been scared, the idea of my dad...
Mothers’ Top Dresser Drawers

Mothers’ Top Dresser Drawers

To rummage there was to be let in on a secret. You whispered. You tiptoed. Among the satin, lace, and letters of my mother’s was a string of pearls I let trickle across my palm. It had clung to the collarbone of her grandmother, my great-grandmother, Anna B, the one who claimed to be born...
My Dead

My Dead

When my grandmother died decades ago, she left her breasts to me. It started slowly, almost imperceptibly. My breasts began to swell in size and volume as if they had infants to feed. But it’s been decades since I’ve had babies to nurse, and still they grew—large, pillowy, and pendulous. I’d rested my head on...
The Dresser

The Dresser

“Look what he’s done.” My grandmother—Greggie—tried to sound annoyed, but her tone came across as affectionate because Papa hadn’t actually done anything wrong. We stood in their bright, airy bedroom discussing the maple furniture with its black and gold accents—I liked the intricate stenciled hearts. Greggie brushed her arthritic fingers over the corner of Papa’s...
The Voice of Things

The Voice of Things

My wife and I moved a short while back from our crowded and lair-like house outside Boston to an abruptly more open and airy place in Amherst. Over a month in, I’m still gaping at new space and different light. The move came after thirty years in the house that most of our lives had...
The Old Phrases

The Old Phrases

Billie Holiday’s 1944 recording of “I’ll Be Seeing You” was the final transmission sent by NASA to the Opportunity rover on Mars when its mission ended on February 13, 2019. At the Center My father’s friend Harry, a man whose memory has perished before him, says, Are you from the neighborhood? Are you here to take me home?...
What Joy Looks Like

What Joy Looks Like

Your grandfather on your grandmother’s lap at Christmas, wearing polyester and mismatched plaids, his colostomy bag under his shirt crinkling against her body, and he’s weeping like you’ve never seen, much harder than an hour earlier when he appeared in the dining room doorway and said, “I’m sorry I yelled at you,” and burst into...
Last Words

Last Words

The dictionary, red and tattered, sits in a cardboard box in my garage along with a telephone, its only button programmed to speed-dial my mobile number. Both items once belonged to my mother. For a time, the dictionary and its 1,550 pages of definitions comforted her. A woman of words, my mother wrote the food...
My Mother Returns to 1985

My Mother Returns to 1985

My father dies and my mother begins to lose years like leaves until she free-falls through time and drifts into 1985, landing in the middle of what she will later refer to as her “decade of despondency.” Today, my mother sits in a recliner in her room in a Florida assisted-living facility while I stretch...
The Red Cane

The Red Cane

I’m in a different period now. Different from the time I wore that striped bikini and frequented the hot springs bubbling greenly out of rock just inside Yellowstone Park. I would undress beside the van. In front of God and bighorn sheep, we used to say. Different from the time four girlfriends with their bikes...
A Legacy of Falling

A Legacy of Falling

In the last few months of her life, when she could no longer get out of bed without falling, my mother told her nighttime caretaker that she had contemplated throwing herself from the subway platform into an oncoming train. The confession didn’t surprise me, just the scenario. I recalled that on a visit to her...
There Will Be Falling

There Will Be Falling

In my dreams, I catch her before she falls, the first fall in her apartment down the road from our house, when I’m a thousand miles away at a residency and have to rush home on the desert freeway, smoking a hundred Kools on the way. The second fall on the sidewalk in front of...
Dance Me to the End

Dance Me to the End

Four o’clock on a Friday afternoon. My grandmother slumps against the arm of the sofa, eyes half-closed, sinking down, down, down. The tips of her fingers graze the floor, and she moves them about, grasping at some hidden thing she keeps secret. Today is no different. She has just turned ninety. The dementia, the vision...
Neighborhood Walk, Halloween Week

Neighborhood Walk, Halloween Week

From her seat on the red wheelchair, Mother points There, and now There, to the plastic gravestones haunting the perfectly edged lawns, and—Look there, she calls as we pass a skeleton fastened to a child’s tree swing as if waiting for a grown-up to send it sailing. Nearby, it’s recess time on the Catholic school...