And now, an excerpt from “The Nearly Departed” by Brenda Cullerton:
“Sometimes, I feel as if I work up one morning at the age of forty-six and my life went blank. It crashed. Until that morning, a year ago, life was something that happened to me, something I could respond and react to. Now there’s nothing. Nothing but this goddamn computer and the visits to Ridgefield.
“What am I doing, strangling in the roots of my own backyard, so entangled and enmeshed in my parents’ lives, my skin breaks out in red welts? They itch. But when I scratch, they bleed and leave scabs. ‘It’s probably hives,’ my doctor tells me. I think it’s living in my parents’ skin. It’s all the waiting and worrying, the shuttling not just between their houses but between these periods of comic relief and disbelief, of intensive caring, apathy, and callousness. I’m literally itching to get rid of them.
“…Dad’s condition is getting steadily worse. He sleeps a lot. Not even the crinkle of an aluminum wrapper around a Hershey bar snaps him out of it. It’s been four months since the January morning when paramedics lowered him down from the ambulance on a gurney. ‘Surprise!’ he’d said with a cackle. ‘I’m baaaack!’ Dad had lost virtually everything by then except his sense of humor.”
Ah yes, I can relate…