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I Want My Hips

My hips have made it clear; they want to stay.
And I want my hips.

Last week I spent a morning with Dance and Sports Medicine specialists looking at my hips and films of my hips, getting the docs’ opinion on what to do with my pain. It took some time to digest their words, to even hear their words. At some point I’ll pick apart their information, make choices, and set out plans, but first, where is my deep feeling? Read more

Scrubbing Go

Integration comes within the grief.

The small tabletop, eight Persian tiles assembled into a pattern of snaking navy blue vines on a background of pale blue edged along its long sides by two mahogany strips, sits on a luggage stand in front of the south-facing bay window. Read more

Corpse

In bed, alone, under two duvets to be warm on a cold night, I move with music in the earbuds. I focus on my right leg, which strokes the sheets, then my right side. Whoosh, a flood of tears. Strange chunks of brittle, wooden tears. Inside gloom in my skull I see Dad. Dad—-after he stopped breathing, when we were alone in the quiet room before the coroner arrived. Quiet. No longer hushed. Empty quiet. I sat in blunt shock of a din gone. His body cooled and stiffened. His skin drained and tightened over the bones Read more

Shellacking the Tea Tray

The time after my father’s death.

I feel like a washing machine waiting for the agitation cycle to finish. While my hips take their sweet time to heal as an external measure of the life transition sloshing under my lid, I get out the shellack to keep myself busy and away from meddling with my interior rearrangement. Healing was never accomplished by fiddling. Read more

The Scent of Dying

As I slowly mourn, I am in the house where I grew up and where I cared for my father in his last days. The house has become an altar…I remember the scents of his dying. Read more

Flesh Remembering

After my father’s death.

Neck
A friend tells me to lie down. Rest. I will massage your neck. I recline on my back and draw a quilt over me. The friend slides her fingertips along the side of my neck beneath my ear lobes. The pressure is light. My skull fills, images and colors colliding, eager crime scene witnesses needing to tell. My neck remembers my father’s last two weeks of bed bound changes. Read more

Dancing by His Bed

I continue writing about helping my father as he completed his life. At this posting my father has already died, but this piece and the following few posts concern his end days.

December 29: Morphine Day 2
I stand at the foot of his bed. He is in a state of torpor. Though I’m in too much pain to walk, I can stand and sway to plangent Persian music playing on my phone. I feel comforted dancing slowly at his feet. He loves my dance. If he could open his eyes, he would love seeing me. Read more

Last Breath

I continue writing about helping my father as he completed his life. At this posting my father has already died, but this piece and the following few posts concern his end days.

December 31
He snuck that last breath by me. It was a soft little breath.

For a day and a half he had been curled against the raised bed and mounds of pillows, his head tilted and turned to the right so he wouldn’t choke on secretions and on the morphine tucked and massaged into his cheek. Read more

I Cry All the Time

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life. At this posting my father has already died, but I want to share in this and the following few posts descriptions of his end days.

December 20
His eyelids flicker. I rarely see his blue eyes now since he sleeps most of the time. “Eyes are a piece of the brain,” someone once told me. Not as poetic as ‘window of the soul’, but right now that understanding of eyes captures my experience. I’m mostly shut out; those gatekeeper eyes slam the door in my face.  I’m alone out here in the chair by his bed. Read more

Winter Night

From writings about helping my father as he completes his life.

All the to-ing and fro-ing from caregiving his ADLs has enflamed my chronic act-up-under-duress injury. I feel like a parolee; I can only go a few steps before a skewer pierces my trochanter, my IT band, my quads. I lie down and tuck the pain under a heating pad. My brother brings me a set of crutches which help. Ibuprofen helps. Not walking helps. It’ll heal but not tomorrow or the next day. Read more