Not only sad, depressing. So depressing that it is now Sunday morning and I did not even clean the house...*******You are close at my side in bedwhere you've lain nearly every nightfor the last 14 yearswhen I open my eyes you are, as ever looking into mineI get up and we pace apart into the bathroommorning ablutions underwayI hug you and kiss the top of your headthe way I've done each of the mornings following nightand go to the kitchen to arrange your breakfastbut you barely touch ityou are old... now... and dying quicklyand do not eat your foodeach day the flesh melts from your bonesas you walk through the habits of your dayand I mineI scrub the floors, wash the mats, launderafghans and guest towelsI vacuum the carpet and dust the piano and guitar.meanwhile you slowly move outdoors tofind a place to snooze in the morning sunI rinse the mirrors, water the gardencut herbs to place in the dryers with the linens,mend a blouse whose hem has come loose,and stop to speak and stroke your head and faceas I conduct the rituals that have defined our life togetherand think about the fact that you are leaving soon.I pick out a new set of CD's to play on the steroAnnie Lennox's MedusaIt begins "No more I love yous"I gather the bills and order them to be paid,take out the trash, rinse the wastebasketsand replace the liners. The house is rife with pine and lemon scentsand the morning sunshine- and reminders of your presence.I open the windows, iron the washing,put away the suitcase I recently used to travel to Spain and wipe down the kitchen countersI hand wash the delicate beaded gauze blouse that my eldest daughter covets and reminds me"Don't put that in the washing Machine Mom,I want it when you get tired of it."You have been with me nearly as long as my children have- no one else has lived with me longer.I go round with a scrub brush and a pail of soapy waterto scrub the spots where you've gotten sick on the carpetYour hair looks unkempt and matted- so I've shaved itnearly all off for you- you're cooler in the summertime anyway.I look at your portrait on the bedroom wallMy mother did from a photograph of youin healthier, more vital times.Still you love me and are loving. We pass each otheryou and i, me doing the emotional shorthand of maintaining what I love- and you walking slowly and unsteadily- but always interested in my comings and goings.Up and down the cement steps- I prepare hardcooked eggsand boiled potatos for lunch. The stereo plays MichaelJackson "The Way You Make Me Feel"but nothing I do- nothing that i can maintaincompensates for knowing that you are dyingyour leave-taking is inevitableAnd Woody, I am so going to miss you when you are goneMoon, missing her good friend and kitty already
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