I was in the Burbank airport about to fly up to Berkeley for my daughter’s graduation when Judy called. She said softly, your mama’s gone. It was hard to comprehend, even though I knew my mom had been inhabiting only a skeleton’s body, tapping her bone fingers against the wall and living as a faint pulseContinue reading “Mama’s Gone”
She had gotten lost several times on the way back from the store to her apartment on Edenhurst. She needed help navigating the long hours of the untethered day, the elusive word, the confusing exchange with a neighbor, the streets and houses that had no distinguishing features. It had been about nine months since weContinue reading “Year One: Slipping”
The Medicare doctor won’t even prescribe cannabis, not that we need the doctor for that. No, she says, no Valium or Xanax, if it’s not indicated. She tells me this on the phone after her 15-minute monthly visit. She makes me feel like I have murky motives. Like I’m asking for the moon. I was hopingContinue reading “In and Out”
When she lived at the first assisted living place in Hollywood, which we’ll call Twilight Village, she was known as “the dancer.” That’s not a surprise, because she’d been a dancer all her life, and she came alive on the dance floor. At Twilight, they played swing bands and Tom Jones and a little bitContinue reading “Tiny Dancer”
Some things that happen in 1951: The Rosenbergs are sentenced to death for espionage. A dozen eggs cost 24 cents. In May, The United States performs the first thermonuclear test as part of Operation Greenhouse. The first coast-to-coast telephone call is made in November. J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is published by LittleContinue reading “Surfmaid Gets Crowned”
Before the diagnosis, I had started asking why. Why couldn’t she remember our intimate conversations? Why wasn’t she listening? Why did she believe the housekeeper had stolen her wedding ring? Why couldn’t she remember the names of the grandchildren’s friends when she’d met them so many times? Why couldn’t she follow the conversation? WhyContinue reading “Cup of Tea”
The things we do, the things we are, what we want to be, what we fail at, what fails us, when we succeed, brilliant moments of glory, all our epiphanies, when the stars align, what we let go of. She knows none of this. Gone but still here. At 19, she won the beauty contest,Continue reading “Village Colleen”
In the elevator, after leaving the neurologist’s office on Wilshire Boulevard, I look at the papers he has given her. She has an order for a brain scan and medication to be filled. The scrip says: Aricept. For cognitive impairment. “We’re going to stop by the pharmacy,” I tell my mother, who stands next toContinue reading “The Meds”
Where the hell are we?
What doctor is this?
One that comes recommended.
I remember my mother firing Lisa at the top of the dunes, a Winston dangling from her lips. “Pack up, that’s it,” she said, as she carried me down the long path to the dock and eventually to the ambulance boat that would take us to the clinic in Bayshore.