Friday, January 14, 2011

Is This Goodbye?

My mother is in the hospital, in "critical and tenuous" condition. We were all there all day. We were confronted with numerous terrible decisions. My mother has never spoken of her end-of-life preferences. We felt uncertain that the gravity of the situation would be clear to her.

Toward the end of the day, two of her grandchildren went in to say goodnight. To one, she said, "You keep on being the best musician ever." To the other, she said, "You stay the fine and sensible young woman that you are."

My mother was born in Lancashire ('Lancs'), England, in 1930, and she survived the Blitz (bombing raids), which could be seen and heard from her tiny home. She lived for seven or eight years in Barbados in the 1950s. There she worked in a convent school and at an early rock-n-roll radio station as a DJ. She moved there as the wife of an Afro-Caribbean man, the father of her eldest child. They divorced, and she married an American sailor. They had another three children together. She has since lived in the states of Michigan, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, the last 14 years in the city of Gloucester. She is a retired State of Michigan schoolteacher. She is at Beverly Hospital.

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