Ignoreland

Sometimes no words is the safest choice. I should tell you about my first conversation with Ziggy after the post-Barrett rock-throwing incident.

I called him from the efficiency apartment/extended-stay hotel Remo had found down the road from the care facility. It was newly built, everything squarishly modern, and still smelled like fresh paint.
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Silent All These Years

The thing about having a relative dying of a terminal illness is that no one asks you why you’re crying. They think they know. (Which sometimes means they know more than you do.)
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Rock Bottom

Up to that point I had not spent much time alone with Barrett. I felt we knew each other pretty well–or at least that he knew me pretty well–by osmosis, through Ziggy. He’d been there through a lot of my ups and downs–mostly downs. I think we were often somewhat careful around each other, though. We needed to get along with each other and if keeping a little distance was conducive to that then so be it.
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Symphony of Destruction

I went to mass on Easter Sunday alone. Claire wanted to go, but at the last minute said she didn’t feel up to it. Somehow that turned into me going on my own.

The two most popular masses at any Catholic church are going to be Easter and Christmas. So even if I was in the back row, I was going to be crowded in. I wore a button down shirt but I didn’t have a tie. It was plenty warm so I didn’t need a jacket. I put my hair in a ponytail. That was as “dressed up” as I could get. Continue Reading »

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Rest in Peace

I suppose I should tell you how Remo came to accept that Claire was a terminal case. Hanging around the hospital as much as we were, we got to know some of the staff, and they got to know us. I think maybe Remo went out of his way to make sure they knew him so there wouldn’t be any issues of them stopping him at the door because he wasn’t “next of kin.”

Honestly, it’s probably a good thing he’d married Melissa or–you know him–he’d probably have married Claire in some kind of misguided white knight move.
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Cold Day in Hell

When I wasn’t in the room, Janine and Claire did have either some kind of heart-to-heart or a fight–I don’t know which because neither of them said.

When Janine left Claire pretended to be asleep (again?) but she was snuffle-crying, which made it a hard act to believe. I took it as a sign she wanted some privacy and said to her–in case she was listening–that me and Remo were right outside if she needed anything.
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Make You a Believer

Janine came in while Remo and Court were out getting food and Claire and I were both asleep. As usual, our mother was propped up in her hospital bed and I was face down on the mattress with my butt in the bedside chair. I’m not sure how long Janine was standing there before I picked my head up and startled upon seeing her across from me.

“Jeez. Hi.” I clutched my heart. Continue Reading »

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House of Pain

The next several days are kind of a blur in my memory. There was a lot of sitting around, waiting for news. Waiting for the results of various tests. Waiting for a doctor to come talk to us. Waiting to see how she would respond to medicine or treatment.

Waiting to know what to feel.
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Burden in my Hand

By the time we finally saw her, Claire was doped up on post-surgery meds and feeling no pain. Her smile when she saw me and Courtney was huge, and she threw open her arms like she could hug us from the hospital bed, but she was reclined back and there were tubes in her arms and equipment in the way, so all I could do was take one of her hands and squeeze it.
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The Concept, Teenage Fanclub

I drove and Court navigated. She had of course already looked up the directions on how to get there. Carynne had taught her well.

At one point she told me to get off at the next exit. I could see the toweringly tall Waffle House sign so I asked, “If we’re getting off here, anyway, what do you think about stopping for some food?”

“The only reason we’re getting off here is to get some food,” she patiently explained.
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