I apologize for the late post. I went to New York for a funeral. Pleas read on.
The first time I met Mary, she was moving into the house next door to mine. She was tall, Italian and had short black hair, curled and coiffed so it never moved. Her seven-year-old daughter, Beth, asked me if I wanted to have a picnic on the front lawn. I was nine and wary of hanging out with younger kids, but she was so nice and she was right next door, so I said yes. Beth and I laid a blanket out on the tall grass that grew above the septic tank. We could hear her mom and dad, but mostly her mom, directing the movers as they emptied their truck. Mary was multitasking, taking care of Beth’s baby sister while she got the house in order.
Good news this week. I went to the doctor because I’d been having some low-grade nausea and what I could only describe as hot flashes. I’d feel terribly hot suddenly and for up to a half-hour, several times a day. I looked up hot flashes and the description said they were sweaty affairs that focused on the head and chest and left you cold. Mine weren’t like that. My whole body got hot, I never sweated and when they were done, I just felt normal. So I concluded that I wasn’t having hot flashes. What I was having, though, felt a lot like morning sickness, so I started to panic. read more
Ever since my dad died, I’ve been thinking about what I did for him, what I could have done, and what I should have done.
When I called my aunt to tell her my dad was dying, I told her that the doctor had recommended a pacemaker but Dad’s living will forbade it so we didn’t do it. “A pacemaker?” she said. “Why didn’t you get a pacemaker? Pacemakers save lives.” The day I made that decision, Dad had been flirting with reality for a while already. His living will said that if he wasn’t expected to make a full recovery, I shouldn’t allow the doctors to use any “artificial means” of support. And I looked it up. Pacemaker was at the top of that list. But when I talked to my aunt, all the doubts came back. read more
I didn’t know what I’d miss about my dad — the calls during dinner, long rants about President Obama, tales from the geriatric dental world. But what I do miss comes as a surprise.
Last night we ate at a sushi restaurant – the kind where a conveyor belt slides little plates of food by you and you pick up what you want. The kids love it. My five-year-old loves to grab the food and my two-year-old likes to cheer “That one! That one!” until his sister gets it.
On our way out, I thought that I’d like to tell my dad about the place. When I was a kid, he told me about eating at the Automat – where the food sat in little compartments and you’d put your coins in to get them out. I think he’d like to know that the concept was alive and well, sans the little compartments, at the sushi place. He would never have eaten sushi but I know he’d love hearing about it. But now that he’s gone, I can’t tell him. read more
When it’s about Dad, you know nothing comes easy. For a guy who spent a portion of every visit showing me where the keys to the safe were – in the baseboard heater, the old vacuum cleaner bag, tucked under the ironing board cover – he sure didn’t do anything to ease the transfer of his estate. When I asked him to just give me a key to the safe, he refused. Didn’t want it falling into the wrong hands. I live 3,000 miles away. Which wrong hands were going to steal the key, fly to New York, find his house, and break into his safe? read more