June 17, 2017

When my father’s mother died, I was a senior in college, finishing up a graduate presentation on Velázquez, a paper on Othello, and trying to decide where to get my MFA. I got the phone call on a Saturday, and stared out the window while my father’s voice echoed on the other end of the line, and when we hung up, I worked for an hour, maybe two, before I walked out into the living room and told my roommates what had happened. When my father died seven years later, I was twenty-eight and had just been handed the largest website project I’d ever managed. I stayed away for nearly a month, and when I returned, I was terrible—terrible to look at, terrible to talk to, terrible for weeks on end, and then a year, and then somehow God taught me to balance the gravity that had been dropped like a plumbline through the belly of my heart. And today, when my mother’s mother gets taken into hospice, I go for a run, eat lunch, do laundry, wash my car, knowing too well there’s no avoiding the sudden shock to come. We wait for death among the living, and isn’t it remarkable? How a person can keep on going, even while pieces of the world are breaking open and sliding off into the sea.

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